Thursday, December 24, 2009

While I'm away the next few weeks, I bring you to the feet of my favorite expositor, Steven J. Lawson. Enjoy!

The Preaching of the Reformers: Martin Luther and John Calvin from Christ Fellowship Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I laughed as I read Sinclair Ferguson this morning when he said:

"John Duncan, professor of Hebrew at New College, Edinburgh, once read out the words of Charles Wesley's hymn And Can it Be that I Should Gain?:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
fast bound in sin and nature's night
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light
My chains fell off my heart was free;
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee
My chains fell off my heart was free;
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Duncan commented quizzically, "Where's your Arminianism now, friend?" The Wesley brothers were indeed Arminian in theology (despite their conviction that many of their views were 'within a hair's breath of Calvinism [and, I might add, many of the Arminians then are more Calvinistic than many Calvinists today]). But at this point, Charles Wesley's expressions of praise are rooted in a theology borrowed from his Calvinist friend George Whitefield's preaching on the new birth.

Praise God that He has quickened our souls to the new birth as Wesley penned in the words of this hymn.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Now, I post this not only cause it's cute, but because I think it's funny that all the guys in my youth group love this video and brought it to my attention last week!

Friday, December 18, 2009

In preparation for our youth/college retreat to Big Bear next month focusing on the theme of God, Sex, and Purity, I read Josh Harris' book to prepare my mind and teach me helpful truths about pursuing purity and Christlikeness and resisting the poison of lust.

Harris, Joshua. Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2003. 185 pages

“I’m against lust, but I’m also for God’s plan for sexual desire. Yes, lust is bad. But it’s bad because what it perverts is so good.” (11)

“Some people have the mistaken notion that God is anti-sex. In fact, He’s outspokenly pro-sex! He invented it. What an incredible thought! Passionate sex was God’s idea. He isn’t embarrassed by it. Song of Songs is an entire book in the Bible dedicated to celebrating pure sex in marriage. Part of the challenge Christians face in a lust-filled world is remembering that neither sex nor sexuality is our enemy. Sex is not the problem—lust is the problem. Is’s the enemy and has hijacked sexuality. We need to keep reminding ourselves that our goal is to rescue our sexuality from lust so we can experience it the way God intended” (12, emphasis added).

“To lust is to want what you don’t have and weren’t meant to have. Lust goes beyond attraction, an appreciation of beauty, or even a healthy desire for sex—it makes these desires more important than God. Lust wants to go outside God’s guidelines to find satisfaction” (20-21).

“Today, we are often misguided in three key areas:

  1. The wrong standard for holiness
  2. The wrong source of power to change
  3. The wrong motive for fighting our sin (p.23).

“God’s Word shows us how to get on the path to freedom. It shows us that the key to escaping the cycle of defeat is to embrace God’s standard for holiness, His source of power for change, and His motive for fighting sin” (p.24).

What is the God’s standard when it comes to lust? How much lust does God want us to allow in our lives? The answer is not even a hint!” (p.24). à Eph 5:3

“[God] wants us to eliminate any kind of impurity in our thoughts and actions. He wants us to dig down into our hearts and uproot sexual greediness, which is always seeking a new sensual thrill” (p.25).

“Sexual purity is clearly something only God can bring about in your life and mine. God’s standard of not even a hint quickly brings me to the end of my own ability and effort. It reminds me that God’s standard is so much higher than the standards I place for myself that only the victory of Christ’s death and resurrection can provide the right power and the right motive needed to change me” (27).

Quoting John Piper in Future Grace, Piper writes: “We must fight fire with fire. The fire of lust’s pleasures MUST be fought with the fire of God’s pleasures. If we try to fight the fire of lust with prohibitions and threats alone—even the terrible warnings of Jesus—we will fail. We must fight it with the massive promise of superior happiness. We must swallow up the little flicker of lust’s pleasure in the conflagration of holy satisfaction” (quoted on p.29).

“Think about this: The sinless Son of God, who perfectly obeyed God’s commands for purity and never lusted, was completely human. That means Jesus was a sexual human being. God didn’t fudge on the Incarnation. God became one of us—a living, breathing, sweating, desiring, feeling human being. Jesus wasn’t a sexless, lifeless half-man. He had sexual urges and desires. He appreciated the beauty of women. He noticed the beauty of women. He was really a man…and none of this was sinful!” (p.34-35).

“It is so critical to understand that our sexual drive isn’t the same as lust. For example, it’s not lust:

  1. to be attracted to someone or notice that he or she is good-looking
  2. to have a strong desire to have sex
  3. to anticipate and be excited about having sex within marriage
  4. when a man or woman becomes turned on without any conscious decision to do so
  5. to experience sexual temptation. (p.35)

“Pray to God about your lust … open, humble dialogue with God could transform the way you view your sexuality. God doesn’t just want us to cultivate a hatred for lust; He wants us to cultivate a gratefulness and appreciation for the gift of sexual desire He has planted in us (38).

“Lust is a sexual desire minus honor and holiness. When we lust, we take this good thing—sexual desire—and remove from it honor toward fellow humans and reverence for God” (quote from John Piper on p.38).

“When we choose lust, we are actively rejecting God (cf. 1 Thess 4:7-8). (p.39)

Lust is an endless cycle. The payoff of lust is a continual lust for more. Even when you indulge in every kind of impurity, you’re still filled with a continual lust (41).

“As Christians, embracing our sexuality looks radically different. We don’t obey every sexual impulse—nor do we deny that we have sexual desires. Instead, we choose both restraint and gratefulness. For us, sexual desire joins every other part of our lives—our appetite for food, our use of money, our friendships, our dreams, our careers, our possessions, our abilities, our families—in bowing before the One True God (42).

NOTE: “only the power of the gospel can rescue us from the prison of our sin, and only the motive of grace can sustain us in the ongoing struggle against lust” (47).

“Here’s what you have to remember. You need to be rescued from your (lustful) sin. You need God’s grace. And not just on your bad days—you need God’s grace every day. There’s a name for this process of tying to save yourself…it’s called legalism (49).

“Nothing we do in our pursuit of holiness adds to our justification (p.52).

“God isn’t just saving us from sin; He’s saving us for a life of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Yes, there’s sacrifice involved. The call to follow Jesus is a call to put our sin to death, to crucify it and then let the Holy Spirit control every part of our lives—including our sexual desires. He asks us to give up chasing the lustful desires that could please us temporarily. Yet on the other side of that sacrifice is freedom and true pleasure (57).

“Bigger outbreaks of sin are usually triggered by smaller sins that I wasn’t diligent in guarding against[ and repenting of]” (64).

Romans 13:14!!

Richard Baxter says: “Keep as far as you can from those temptations that feed and strengthen the sins which you would overcome. Lay siege to your sins, and starve them out, by keeping away the food and fuel which is their maintenance and life” (quoted onp.65)

“For many men and women, the Internet isn’t just a little battle; it’s the main battleground where they’re tempted daily to indulge in lust. Escaping this temptation requires radical action.” (71)

“If you’re not struggling with online pornography that’s good—but please don’t assume you’re safe. If you’re not willing to fight the little battles of purity today in this area, you’ll more than likely end up ensnared in something bigger in days to come” (71).

Great questions for Discussion on Purity/lust/Porn:

  1. List your own top three lust triggers. How can you avoid them? What causes you to lust (places, people, locations, areas, clothing?)
  2. What time of day or week are you most tempted by lust (school, parties, church?)
  3. Which locations are the most tempting for you? How can you limit your time in those places?
  4. What five little battles do you need to be fighting more faithfully? Describe in detail what it looks like for you to fight—and win—these battles (p.75).

Hear the truth and OBEY IT – James 1:21-22

“Lust always starts with something good…it takes God’s design then distorts it” (85).

Al Mohler once said: “Men are tempted to give themselves to pornography—women are tempted to commit pornography.” If you’re a woman, you don’t have to pose for a picture or star in a pornographic movie to commit pornography. When you dress and behave in a way that is designed primarily to arouse sexual desire in men [and be noticed by people and reveal parts of your body that should be covered] you’re committing pornography with your life (87).

“There is a difference between dressing attractively and dressing to attract” (92).

NOTE: “sexual release is NOT the antidote to lust. If you think it is, you’ve got a sad surprise coming—lust will be waiting for you after your honeymoon with a whole new batch of lies” (93).

Masturbation: “Some guys say they can masturbate without lusting. They say they think nonsexual thoughts and do it merely for release. It’s not my place to judge the hearts of these people. I can only speak for myself and say that I highly doubt this is possible (102)

à Jer 17:9

Masturbation is self-sex. It is self-centered sex. The WRONG attitude says that sex is solely about you and your pleasure. Your body. Your genitals. Your orgasm. It isolates us from others and makes pleasure SELF-focused. (103).

Jeffrey Black writes: “The goal of pornography and masturbation is to create a substitute for intimacy. Masturbation is sex with yourself. If I’m having sex with myself, I don’t have to invest myself in another person (105).

Good note:

A good piece of advice: GET MARRIED. Unless God has removed your desire for sex and has given you a clear vision to serve Him as a single person, then assume that you’re supposed to get married and either make yourself ready or begin pursuing it” (111).

“More Christian singles should be running toward marriage” (112)


“I’m not going to tell you what you can and can’t watch. But I do want to look at how we can practice biblical discernment and wisdom when it comes to our viewing habits” (116).

Today’s media, especially TV, seeks to define reality for us. It wants to tell us how to think about sex, about marriage, about our desires, about sin. The danger of not bringing God’s standards to bear in what you watch isn’t only that you might see a naked body, but that the values of a sinful world will shape what you’re living for” (117).

“The TV and film industry stir up feelings and emotions that bypass our minds and go straight for our affections. The incredible power of media is that it can make something evil look good or exciting without appearing to make any argument at all!” (118).

à Rom 1:32 – beware!

Good principle from Mrs. Wesley to her son, Charles: “Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself” (120)

Another practical application: “you should be able to honestly give thanks to God for the portrayal in its totality of that which you partake of. This is wholesomely biblical. If you can’t bow your head and sincerely thank God for a movie, or a symphony, or a video game, or a party, or a music song, or a newscast, or a book—then for YOU that activity is wrong. Stop arguing with yourself, and move on to something else!” (121).

Remember: “media is after your heart. It’s not trying to reason with you—it seeks to disguise its message so that you’ll welcome it and let your guard down” (122-23).

“There is NO such thing as a ‘must-see-TV’” (p.127)

“Our enemy goes after people who have isolated themselves from other Christians. Stragglers make easy victims. Without other people to encourage them, watch out for them, and confront small compromise in their lives, they often end up drifting into serious sin” (133).

“An accountability relationship is one in which a Christian gives permission to another believer to look into his life for purposes of questioning, challenging, admonishing, advising, encouraging and otherwise providing input in ways that will help the individual live according to the Christian principles that they both hold (136).

“When you humble yourself and take the step of confessing lust (b/c we all do), God will give you more grace to battle that very sin (140).

à1 Pet 5:5

“Repentance involves a change of heart and a decision to turn away from a sin. It’s proven over time and involves an ongoing choice to put sin to death!” (142).

Discussion questions:

  1. Do I view this sin as an act of rebellion against God?
  2. Is there true sorrow over my sin or do I merely dislike the consequences?
  3. Am I cultivating a hatred for this sin?
  4. What further action do I need to take?
  5. What will I do the next time I’m tempted in this way?
  6. What preemptive actions can I take to avoid this sin next time?
  7. What activities or thought patterns do I need to turn from? (p.142).

SPECIFIC questions for accountability partners:

  1. How did you do guarding your eyes at work today?
  2. Did you masturbate this week?
  3. Did you view porn online this week?
  4. What are you meditating on when you wake up in the morning?
  5. Have you been memorizing Scripture to combat the lies of lust?
  6. Is your relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend pure—totally? (p.144)

“Part of sin is dissatisfaction with God. Lust’s power comes from the promise it gives that something besides God can make us happy. What this means is that the only way to overcome the power of lust in our lives is by finding better promises. The key to holiness is satisfaction in God—faith that He is more to be desired than anything this world has to offer. We’re not just turning away from lust; we’re turning toward true satisfaction and joy in God” (158-59).

“What you see in your spiritual life today is the direct result of what you’ve put in the soil of your life in days past” (163)

àGal 6:7-9

“Some Christians sow to the flesh every day and wonder why they do not reap holiness” (164).

How do you find satisfaction in God?

  1. Choose to make it the number one priority of your day to spend time with God
  2. Have a plan for what you’re going to do during your time with God (167-70)

Galatians 6:9 – never give up!

How to fight internet porn:

  1. Identify what’s leading up to lustful indulgence on the internet (174)
  2. Resolve that no technological convenience is worth sinning against God (174)
  3. Examine your mindset when browsing and the amount of time spent online (175)
  4. Have an accountability partner that consistently asks about your internet activity (175)
  5. Redefine ‘over the line’ (it’s not the edge of the cliff)
  6. Use website filters, blockers, and accountability software as a final line of defense, not the first (176)
  7. Fight this sin the hardest when you’re feeling strong

How to Repent: (178ff)

  1. Pray
  2. Identify the sin
  3. Embrace the Gospel
  4. Take steps to STOP
  5. Replace your sin with righteousness
  6. Seek fellowship as a means of grace
  7. Review the previous steps repeatedly!

Work Hard at Everything to the Glory of God

King Hezekiah of Judah was, according to the Scriptures, one of the godliest kings in ancient Israel. That he was a man who feared Yahweh, loved loud worship, preached bold messages of repentance and turning back to Yahweh, and affirmed the people of God’s compassion and forgiveness if they would repent is clearly shown in the biblical record—especially in 2 Chronicles!

In reading this book, I am amazed at how many times the Chronicler goes out of his way to note that Hezekiah commanded the worshippers to sing, play, worship, and make jubilation. What a glorious time of ancient Israel. This period is, in fact, a glimpse of godliness in the glaring face of ungodliness during that time period. Note what the Chronicler writes:

2 Chronicles 31:20-21 20 Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah; and he did what was good, right and true before the LORD his God. 21 Every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law and in commandment, seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered.

The New Testament commentary on these verses and really on the entire life of King Hezekiah is found in the words of the Apostle Paul:

1 Corinthians 10:31 31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sexting—the New and Immoral Fad of Youth Today

John Sutter in a CNN article entitled, “Survey: 15% of Teens get sexual text messages,” wrote:

Nearly one-sixth of teens who own cell phones have received nude or nearly nude images via text message from someone they know, according to a new survey on "sexting" from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The national telephone survey confirms parent and teacher worries that young people are using cell phones to send out and receive sexually explicit images of themselves and of romantic partners.

He continues:

This survey … found 15 percent of cell-phone-owning teens ages 12 to 17 had received nude or nearly nude photos by phone. Four percent of the teens said they had sent out sexually explicit photos or videos of themselves.

Older teens were more likely to send sexual images through text messages than younger teens. Four percent of 12-year-olds reported sending sexually suggestive images by text message, while 8 percent of 17-year-olds reported texting nude or partially nude photos.

When interviewing some people, one boy said:

"I only do it [sexting] with my girlfriend b/c we have already been sexually active with each other. It's not really a big deal," one high school boy wrote in a Pew focus group.

Others said sexting is part of teenage culture -- partly because it can be more convenient or less intimidating than traditional dating.

"Most people are too shy to have sex," another high school boy told Pew. "Sexting is not as bad."

Given the current state of our culture and the easy-access mentality of sex, pleasure, and any and every form of immorality, this survey is not shocking. Nevertheless, it is saddening because these young people are given—addicted (?)—to sexual pleasure outside the marriage relationship and are therefore sinning against God and violating His clear and unambiguous commands in Scripture to remain pure.

This study comes to me at a helpful time. I’m preparing for our youth/college retreat this winter to Big Bear and our theme is God, Sex, & Purity. We will talk frankly and candidly about these issues such as the character of God who created sex and encourages sex in the marriage relationship between one man and one woman. We’ll also delve into topics such as pornography, sexual immorality, purity in dating, and being resolved to live a pure life to the honor and glory of Jesus Christ.

God’s Word is not silent about the issue of sex and especially sexual immorality. Sexting is just one way that our culture and, specifically, the younger generation feeds its lustful desire and greedy craving for sex. And it’s bombarding our young people via cell phones! Yet, the stimulation, the (fleeting) pleasure, and the sin of “sexting” must be addressed and it must be put off with the new, Godly, biblical, Christlike habits replacing it. And this will be our topic over the winter retreat in Big Bear.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I have had the immeasurable joy this week of busying myself with God and His Word. Preparing for our Israel trip has been a tremendous joy (and responsibility) these last few months as I’m about to lead my second trip to Israel.

Though I’ve been free from PhD coursework, I’ve immersed myself in reading large portions of Scripture in one sitting. This week I’ve read Deuteronomy, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and, Lord willing, I’ll finish 1 and 2 Chronicles by this weekend so I can have the four gospels read by the time our flight leaves on Christmas morning.

The amazing truth that has hit me time and time again has been the sovereignty of God—over everything. God is in absolute control over everything. From the covenants, to the kings, to the battles, to the enemies God reigns supremely on His sovereign throne working out His already established purposes.

I love God’s Word. I am getting ready go to Israel. After I read these next few books on my list, then I shall be ready to board the flight.

Psalm 119:47-48 47 I shall delight in Your commandments, Which I love. 48 And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, Which I love; And I will meditate on Your statutes.

Psalm 119:159-160 159 Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness. 160 The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

Friday, December 11, 2009

James 4:13-17 13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Praise God for the righteousness of Christ credited to my account:

“The sins of a believer are so effectually removed that even when or if they are sought for, they cannot be found. For Jesus has borne them away. Believers are complete in Him and clothed in His righteousness. They shall stand before God without spot or wrinkle. Who shall lay anything to their charge?”

—John Newton

Praise the LORD!

Yesterday was the completion of my first semester in my doctoral program. I turned in my two semester papers yesterday which in turn brought overflowing joy to my heart!

I had two courses and two major papers that I’ll discuss briefly in turn.

My first class was New Testament Greek studies. Essentially, this was a semester course on the intricate details of the Greek language—syntax. We dealt with issues such as the verb and if inherently expresses time and if so, how much. We dealt with the issues of linguistics, word studies, reading, reviewing, and critiquing the major grammars, and then we had to write a paper on a major grammar topic. Some guys had papers on infinitives, the middle voice, genitives, and correlative constructions, and I did my paper on word order in the Greek NT. Essentially I went in to the semester holding to the standard VSO (verb, subject, object) word order in the Greek NT (as similar to Hebrew). But this study changed my convictions. My test case was the Johannine literature. I studied every clause in John 1-3, 1 John 1-3, and Revelation 1-5, 10-12 to see how John joins elements together in his writings and if it is possible to affirm that VSO is the unmarked (=standard, default) word order in the NT. I concluded that the VSO standard formula is a faulty paradigm to suggest as the “normal” pattern in the NT—at least in John’s writings (it may be true of Mark and Luke, for example). Rather, I suggested that because a clause can be perfectly legitimate even if it does not contain all three of these elements (e.g., a clause with the predicate only is no less “grammatically correct” than a clause with all three elements—VSO). Thus, when the subject appears first in John’s writings, I suggest that it is there for special markedness (=emphasis). That is to say, it transitions to a new topic, speaker, or location (esp. in John’s gospel). I was greatly encouraged by my study and came away appreciating all that I have learned this semester in Greek syntax.

My other class was Advanced Theological Method. This course rocked my world as it opened a world of study which I had not spent much time considering before. This course was on the definition of systematic and biblical theology in addition to its validation and process. I wrote two papers in this course. The first was observing Louis Berkhof and his theological method (much of which I agree with [soteriology] and some of which I qualm at [covenantalism]). My final paper was to define and validate systematic theology as a legitimate discipline and then show a proper “process” by which the theologian can contrive a systematic theology. Before this course, I never realized that presuppositions play such a large role in everything we do, including theology! In sum, I’ll post my definition of systematic theology here:

Systematic theology is the lifelong discipline which pursues, recognizes, and gathers all truth that can be known about the one, true God from His revealed Word and from every source available to mankind with the intended result of bringing about holiness in the Christian life and growth in Christian knowledge to the ultimate glory of God.

My definition is, as you see, quite different than the standard definition of just taking themes from the entirety of biblical revelation and putting them together to get a cohesive theology. I think this is way too narrow and too limited. In a sense, this is one step of a process in “doing” the task of systematic theology.

All in all, I’ve never worked harder in academics in my life. I’ve never been more busy than I am at this stage of my life (it may have to do with the fact that I preach 2-4 times a week as well). Nevertheless, I’ve never received such rewarding and applicational results than I have this semester in my schooling program. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Learn then this basic truth, that the Creator is absolute Sovereign, executing His own will, performing His own pleasure, and considering naught but His own glory. “The Lord hath made all things FOR HIMSELF. (Prov 16:4). And had He not a perfect right to do so? Since God is God, who dare challenge His prerogative? To murmur against Him is rank rebellion. To question His ways is to impugn His wisdom. To criticize Him is sin of the deepest dye. Have we forgotten who He is?"

—AW Pink

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This morning I comforted my soul with a prayer from The Valley of Vision (p.199). It says:

“May the close of an earthly Sabbath remind me that the last of them will one day end.

Animate me with joy that in heaven praise will never cease,

That adoration will continue forever,

That no flesh will grow weary

no congregations disperse,

no affections flag

no thoughts wander,

no will droop,

but all will be adoring love!

…Wing me through earthly forms to thy immediate presence;

May my feeble prayers show me the emptiness and vanity of my sins;

Deepen in me the conviction that my most fervent prayers, and most lowly confessions, need to be repented of.

May my best services bring me nearer to the cross, and prompt me to cry, ‘None but Jesus!’

…Let all who see me take knowledge that I have been with thee

That thou hast taught me my need as a sinner,

hast revealed a finished salvation to me,

hast enriched me with all spiritual blessings,

hast chosen me to show forth Jesus to others,

hast helped me to dispel the mists of unbelief…


I love this prayer for a few reasons.

First, it reminds me that every Lord’s day when we gather with God’s people to corporately worship Him will come to a close on this earth. Yet how much ought this to drive us to contemplate and yearn for that future Lord’s day when we will be enjoying the eternal rest of God with God’s people where the day of worship shall never cease!

Second, I am reminded that heaven is awesome and worthy of our deep consideration and constant reflection. Our feeble and frail and often faltering worship in this earth shall never ever happen in heaven. Our affections will never steer off of the Lamb who sits on the throne. We shall never droop our eyes in somber sorrow. We will never have anything but perfect adoring love for Christ our Savior and other people! How marvelous.

Third, I must repent of my repentance. How often the Godly preachers of old would say this and yet I’ve hardly ever heard this from a pulpit today. Often, confession of sins today from the lips of Christians is abominable. We must repent of our repentance. We must confess our generalizations and haphazard recognition of affronting God’s absolute righteousness. Let us be genuine in our repentance—specific, humbled, broken, and yet comforted by the eternally comforting embrace of Christ who extends the nail-pierced hands to restore the joy of our salvation to us after sincere repentance.

Fourth, Jesus Christ is the one who accomplished and revealed salvation to me. I am saved and sanctified and safe because of what Jesus Christ has sufficiently secured because of His atoning death on Calvary’s cross to save me from my sins and present me as holy and righteous before the Almighty and infinitely just bar of God’s scrutiny. Praise God that he has enriched me with every spiritual blessing and equipped me through His Sprit living within me to be a evangelistic witness to those who are without hope and without God in this world.

Soli Deo Gloria.

1 Timothy 5:17-18 17 The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, "YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages." This gets the point across don't you think?

HT: Todd Bolen

Monday, December 7, 2009

Great advice from another blog:

One of the new practices on our elder board is that we take 30 minutes at the beginning of every meeting to cross-examine one of the brothers. You hear a lot of expected questions (How is your prayer life and quiet time? How is your parenting?), but you also a wide range of unexpected questions. One question that I heard recently that I thought would be good for other pastors to consider:

"If the devil were to ruin your ministry, what area of your life would he pursue?"

And a follow-up question: "Whatever area of life is vulnerable, what are you doing right now to protect against the devil's work?"

Brothers, don't let the devil get a foothold in your life. Pray and Fight. There is much work left to be done.

HT: 9 marks

Yesterday I read Pink's classic work again in preparation for my sermon on Psalm 47 this week at Church. God is good and He truly is the Sovereign King.

Quotes from A. W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God. Revised edition. Reprint, 1928. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1998.

“From every pulpit in the land it needs to be thundered forth that God still lives, that God still observes, that God still reigns.” (p.15).

“Learn then this basic truth, that the Creator is absolute Sovereign, executing His own will, performing His own pleasure, and considering naught but His own glory. “The Lord hath made all things FOR HIMSELF. (Prov 16:4). And had He not a perfect right to do so? Since God is God, who dare challenge His prerogative? To murmur against Him is rank rebellion. To question His ways is to impugn His wisdom. To criticize Him is sin of the deepest dye. Have we forgotten who He is?” (p.30).

“Because God governs inanimate matter… when we complain about the weather, we are, in reality, murmuring against God” (36).

“’The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will” (Prov 21:1). What could be more explicit? Out of the heart are the issues of life (Prov 4:23), for as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he (Prov 23:7). If then the heart is in the hand of the Lord, and if ‘He turneth it whithersoever He will,” is it not clear that men, yea, governors and rulers, and so all men, are completely beneath the governmental control of the Almighty!” (40-41).

“Ah, the heathen may ‘rage’ and the people imagine a ‘vain thing’; the kings of the earth may ‘set themselves,’ and the ruler take counsel together against the Lord and against His Christ . . . but God knows that He can crush men like moths when He pleases, or consume them in a moment with the breath of His mouth. Ah, it is but ‘a vain thing’ for the potsherds of the earth to strive with the glorious Majesty of Heaven. Such is our God; worship ye Him” (p.42).

“The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. His government is exercised over inanimate matter, over the brute beasts, over the children of men, over angels good and evil, and over Satan Himself. NO revolving of a world, no shining of a star, no storm, no movement of a creature, no actions of men, no errands of angels, no deeds of the Devil—nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed. Here is a foundation for faith. Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil, but the Lord Almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory” (p.44).

“To say that Christ died for all alike, to say that He became the Substitute and Surety of the whole human race, to say that He suffered on behalf of and in the stead of all mankind, is to say that He ‘bore the curse for many who are now bearing the curse for themselves; that He suffered punishment for many who are now lifting up their own eyes in Hell, being in torments; that He paid the redemption price for many who shall yet pay in their own eternal anguish ‘the wages of sin, which is death’” (quote from GS

Bishop) p.59

“To say that He made an atonement which fully atones is to say that He paid a price which actually ransoms” (59)

“Will Christ ever force anyone to receive Him as Savior? In one sense this is true, but in another sense it is positively untrue. The salvation of any sinner is a matter of Divine power. By nature the sinner is at enmity with God, and naught but Divine power operating within him, can overcome this enmity; hence it is written, “no man can come unto Me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him (John 6:44). It is the Divine power overcoming the sinner’s innate enmity which makes him willing to come to Christ that he might have life” (p.61).

“The new birth is due to the sovereign will of the Spirit” (69).

“The new birth is solely the work of God the Spirit and man has NO part or lot in causing it . . . birth altogether excludes the idea of any effort or work on the part of the one who is born” (69).

“Here is a servant of God who preaches the Gospel to a congregation in which are an hundred unsaved people. He brings before them the teaching of Scripture concerning their ruined and lost condition; he speaks of God, His character and righteous demands; he tells of Christ meeting God’s demands, an dying the Just for the unjust, and declares that through “this Man” is now preached the forgiveness of sins; he closes by urging the lost to believe what God has said in His Word and receive His Son as their own personal Savior. The meeting is over; the congregation disperses; ninety-nine of the unsaved have refused to come to Christ that they might have life, and go out into the night having no hope, and without GO din the world. But the hundredth hears the Word of life; the Seed sown falls into ground which has been prepared by God; he believes the Good News, and goes home rejoicing that His name is written in heaven. He has been ‘born again’ and just as a newly born babe in the natural world begins his life by clinging instinctively, in its helplessness, to its mother, so this new-born soul has clung to Christ.” (p.71).

“To speak hypothetically but reverently, if God had done nothing more than given Christ to die for sinners, not a single sinner would ever have been saved. In order for any sinner to see his need of a Savior and be willing to receive the Savior he needs, the work of the Holy Spirit upon and within him is imperatively required. Had God done nothing more than given Christ to die for sinner and then sent forth His servants to proclaim salvation through Christ, leaving sinners entirely to themselves to accept or reject as they pleased, then every sinner would have rejected, because at heart every man hates God and is at enmity with Him (Rom 8:7)” (p.72)

“Foreknowledge of future events then is founded upon God’s decrees, hence if God foreknows everything that is to be, it is because He has determined in Himself from all eternity everything which

will be—“Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).” (p.75).

“The new birth is very much more than simply shedding a few years due to a temporary remorse over sin. It is far more than changing our course of life, the leaving off of bad habits and the substituting of good ones. It is something different from the mere cherishing and practicing of noble ideals. It goes infinitely deeper than coming forward to take some popular evangelist by the hand, signing a pledge-card, or “joining a church.” The new birth is no mere turning over a new leaf, but is the inception and reception of a new life. It is no mere reformation but a complete transformation. In short, the new birth is a miracle, the result of the supernatural operation of God. It is radical, revolutionary, lasting” (79).

“God has access to the hearts of all men and He may soften them according to His sovereign purpose” (84).

“Yes, God hardens men’s hearts. God blinds men’s minds. Yes, so Scripture represents Him. In developing this theme of the sovereignty of God in Operation we recognize that we have now reached its most solemn aspect of all, and that here especially, we need to keep very close indeed to the words of Holy Writ” (88).

“Man chooses that which is according to his nature, and therefore before he will ever choose or prefer that which is divine and spiritual, a new nature must be imparted to him; in other words, he must be born again” (93).

“How then is the sinner to move heavenwards? By an act of his own will? Not so. A power outside of himself must grasp hold of him and lift him every inch of the way. The sinner is free, but free in one direction only—free to fall, free to sin!” (101).

“God requires that we shall worship Him and prayer, real prayer, is an act of worship” (114).

“Prayer is not so much an act as it is an attitude—an attitude of dependency, dependency upon God. Prayer is a confession of creature weakness, yea, of helplessness. Prayer is the acknowledgement of our need and the spreading of it before God” (121).

“irreverence begets disobedience” (126)

“A true recognition of God’s sovereignty will avow God’s perfect right to do with us as He wills. The one who bows to the pleasure of the Almighty will acknowledge His absolute right to do with us as seemeth Him good. If He chooses to send poverty, sickness, somestic bereavements, even while the heart is bleeding at every pore, it will say, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right!” (128).

“It has been well said that ‘true worship is based upon RECOGNIZED GREATNESS, and greatness is superlatively seen in Sovereignty, and at no other footstool will men really worship (JB Moody). In the presence of the Divine King upon His throne even the seraphim ‘veil their faces’” (135).

“The doctrine of God’s sovereignty lies at the foundation of Christian theology, and in importance is perhaps second only to the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures” (139).

“Divine sovereignty has ordained that some shall be condemned for their sins to show that all deserved such an end. But grace intervenes and draws out from a lost humanity a people for God’s name, to be throughout all eternity the monuments of His inscrutable favor. Sovereign grace reveals God breaking down the opposition of the human heart, subduing the enmity of the carnal mind, and bringing us to love Him because He first loved us” (141).

“To say, as alas! Many preachers are saying, God is willing to do His part if you will do yours, is a wretched and excuseless denial of the Gospel of His grace. To declare that God helps those who help themselves, is to repudiate one of the most precious truths taught in the Bible, and in the Bible alone; namely, that God helps those who are unable to help themselves, who have tried again and again, only to fail. To say that the sinner’s salvation turns upon the action of his own will, is another form of the Gos-dishonouring dogma of salvation by human efforts” (142).

“God is infinite in power, and therefore it is impossible to withstand His will or resist the outworking of His decrees” (p.144).

“God is too wise to err and too loving to cause His child a needless tear” (146)

“The secret of development of Christian character is the realization and acknowledgement of our own powerlessness, and the consequent turning unto the Lord for help” (154).

“What is God’s word of cheer for the one who is thoroughly disheartedned at the lack of response to his appeals and the absence of fruit of his labours (in evangelism)? This—that we are not responsible for results: that is God’s side, and God’s business. Paul may ‘plant,’ and Apollos may ‘water,’ but it is GOD who ‘gave the increase” (1 Cor 3:6). Our business is to obey Christ and preach the Gospel to every creature, to emphasize the ‘whosoever believeth” and then to leave the Holy Spirit to apply the Word in quickening power to whom He wills, resting on the sure promise of Jehovah” (p.156).

“Be it noted, in choosing the ones He did for salvation, God did no injustice to the others who were passed by, for none had any right to salvation. Salvation is by grace, and the exercise of grace is a matter of pure sovereignty—God might save all or none, many or few, one or ten thousand, just as He saw best” (158).

“God initiates all things, regulates all things, and all things are working unto His eternal glory” (158).

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