Thursday, December 29, 2011

Join us for CFBC's Super Study.

Friday, Dec 30th @ Pastor Geoff's house | 7-9pm.
Our topic is: Is the Bible Really Sufficient for All of Life?

Bring your questions for a time of discussion & examining God's Word to see how God's Word speaks to various issues.

Five particular areas of how God's Word is currently being attacked will be the primary focus of the time. Join us; bring your friends; and your questions.

It will be recorded and you'll be able to listen to & download it from our church website.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Let's take heed to this text of Scripture which God gives to His people:

Zechariah 8:16-17 16 'These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates. 17 'Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I HATE,' declares the LORD."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Can anyone guess where this picture was taken?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Hear this exhortation from the 18th century but it is certainly just as relevant now as it was then:

"It is to parents that the injunction is delivered, "thou shalt teach these words to thy children diligently, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house," and, "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." No pastoral attention should be intended, nor can be adapted, to supersede or interfere with this solemn parental obligation. But the pastor should labour to the uttermost to urge and keep the parents of his flock up to the right discharge of their duty.

There are few of us who are not sorrowfully convinced that little is too be expected from our sermons in the pulpit, or our instructions in the class-room, while all our endeavours are so miserably counteracted by the neglect of domestic instruction, and the want of parental solicitude. It is not intended to justify pastoral neglect by advancing the obligations of parental duty, for perhaps we all have been, and are, guilty of a criminal defect of duty, in not giving more of our time and attention to the children of our congregations; but even the time and attention we do give, is likely to be lost, through the low state of religion in the homes and some of our people.

We might very naturally expect that our churches would be chiefly built up from the families of our members; whereas the greater number of accessions are from those who were once the people of the world. There is a great mistake on this subject, into which both parents and ministers have fallen; and that is, that the conversion of the children of the professor is to be looked for more from the sermons of the minister, than from the instructions of the parent; whereas the contrary is the true order of things; and if domestic piety and teaching were what they ought to be, it is the order which would be found to exist. There is unquestionable truth in the proverb: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

Were the nature and design of the domestic constitution thoroughly understood, and its religious duties early, judiciously, affectionately, and perseveringly discharged, the greater number of our young people would be converted to God at home. Were all religious professors who are parents, real and eminent Christians; were they, from the time they became parents, to set their hearts upon being the instruments of their children's conversion; were they to do all that prayer, instruction, discipline, and example could do, for the formation of the religious character of their offspring; and were they carefully to abstain from every thing which would obstruct that end, it might be confidently expected that it would be within the hallowed precincts of such homes, and not in the sanctuary, that the children of the godly would usually become godly themselves. It should then be, and will be, an object with every truly earnest pastor, to bring up the parents in his church to a right sense and faithful discharge of their functions."

So convicting & it drips with biblical authority, truth, and persuasiveness! Let us be faithful parents to train up our children in the ways of the LORD with all vigilance and earnestness!

From John James, An Earnest Ministry, 154-56.
From James Smith (mid 19th. century):

Jesus loved, labored, suffered, bled, died, rose, ascended, and intercedes--to save His people from their sins! He is the perfect husband who . . .
brings us into marriage-union with Himself,
provides for all our necessities, and
assures us of His unalterable love!
He gives us . . .
His arm to support us,
His fullness to supply us,
His name to entitle us,
His robe to cover us,
His angels to guard us,
His Word to assure us, and
His Heaven to be our habitation at last!

Now this must launch us to Ephesians 5:25ff where we learn that, as husbands, we must strive to love our wives just as Christ loves His own.

How are YOU doing with this kind of shepherding, kind, selfless, protective, God-centered husbanding?

Friday, December 23, 2011

From a pastor to the men of his congregation. I think it is absolutely right on.



I can’t believe how ridiculous this is, but I am writing tonight to urge you to take your families to church on Sunday, December 25th. Before it is a holiday, before it is a family gathering, before it is anything else it is a Sunday: a day set aside by God himself to worship. It is a day that your elders have called the church together to worship. It is a day that you should be actively planning to take your family to church.

There is no excuse, not one, for not taking your family to church on Sunday. There may be some of you who will be out of town; find a church and take your family there. There will be some of you who are in town; you know where and when we meet. There is no reason for missing church on Christmas Day. In fact, a good argument can be made that of all the days to worship God, we should worship on Christmas Day. If we do not you are telling your family, your wives, your children, and your neighbors that Christmas isn’t really about Jesus at all. It will instead be about you, your family, your traditions, gifts, parties–everything that you will spend the next 12 months complaining about.

Some of you are part of extended families who have already made plans. Let me offer this piece of advice: be a man. Man up and tell your extended family that you are looking forward to seeing them and spending time with them but first you will take your family to church. It is your duty as a husband and father; it your responsibility; it is also your privilege.

This morning we read of King Ahaz in Isaiah 7 who despised the promise of the presence of God. It is easy for us to sit in judgment of the stupidity and hubris of Ahaz. But are you in danger of doing much the same thing? God promises to meet you and your family when you worship him. What possible reason can you have for turning away from that promise? What message does that send to your children?

I didn’t think I would have to write this email, but after several different conversations with people who could go to church on Christmas but are not going to, I felt I had no choice. It is my divine duty to call you out. This is not the life of discipleship that you are called to; this is not the obedience that you are obliged to; this is not what I want the men and potential leaders of _______ to be known for.

Go to church.

Pastor _____

HT: Out of the Horse's Mouth

Monday, December 19, 2011

2 Timothy 4:2 — preach the word; be ready in season and out of season (κήρυξον τὸν λόγον, ἐπίστηθι εὐκαίρως ἀκαίρως)

Amos, the prophet from Tekoa in Southern Israel, was called by God to prophesy doom and judgment upon the people of Northern Israel because of their social injustice, false & idolatrous worship, and wickedness.

He just warned Israel through visions (ch.7) that God would come and severely judge His people. Then in 7:9 Amos said that the high places will be desolated, the sanctuaries of Israel will be laid waste, and God will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.

A prophet named Amaziah then went to King Jeroboam II and said that Amos has conspired against him (7:10, 11). Then Amaziah the prophet responded to Amos and said:

Amos 7:12-13 — Then Amaziah said to Amos, "Go, you seer, flee away to the land of Judah and there eat bread and there do your prophesying! "But no longer prophesy at Bethel, for it is a sanctuary of the king and a royal residence."

Amos was not wanted in Bethel. The rich, the famous, the powerful, & the royal wanted nothing to do with Amos nor the Word from the LORD. This is the example of preaching "out of season" — when the Word of God is not wanted.

But Amos replied saying that he is not a prophet, nor a son of prophet (not from a prophetic lineage) but rather the Lord sovereignly took Amos from shepherding the flock & God commanded him to go prophesy to the people Israel (7:15).

I love the contrast in the following verses:

v.16 - Amaziah the prophet says that you shall not prophesy or speak against the house of Israel.

v.17 - But the Word of the Lord says that: (1) Amaziah's wife will become a harlot; (2) his sons & daughters will die; (3) the land will be parceled up by a measuring line & you will die on unclean soil; and (4) Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.

Amos faithfully preached God's Word even when it was not wanted — he preached the Word when it was "out of season." May we so learn from Amos & do the same!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

(sorry about the kids sticking out their tongues;
who taught 'em that??)
As of yesterday afternoon, our family made a transition in our life & ministry. After a decade of being in LA, a new ministry opportunity opened up to serve as pastor of Christ Fellowship Bible Church in St. Louis.

After packing the moving truck, getting our car shipped, renting a car, and a two-day R&R at a beach-house, we all finally arrived in St. Louis last night where my parents happily met us & drove us to their house.

Today we go to our rental house which, in God's providence, is very close to the church we'll be meeting at so that we can have a walk through with our property manager. Then the moving truck arrives so we can unload everything.

I'm still working on my sermon for this Sunday but the text is on 2 Timothy 3:16-17—one of the most important texts in all of the Bible.

Elizabeth and I are excited to church-plant, ready to see God's power at work in ways that we never anticipated, expectant of many trials and hardships, and an overwhelming commitment to biblical, gospel-centered, Christ-exalting ministry at CFBC.

If you're in the STL area, come join us for the following upcoming events:

Sunday, December 18th @ 9:30am (STL Marriott West Hotel)
Sunday, December 25th @ 10:00am (Kirkland House)
Friday, December 30th @ 7:00pm for our Super Study (Location TBD)

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

(I will also post it in the Greek because of the emphatic wording: Τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ ὑπὲρ πάντα ποιῆσαι ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ ὧν αἰτούμεθα ἢ νοοῦμεν κατὰ τὴν δύναμιν τὴν ἐνεργουμένην ἐν ἡμῖν, 21 αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ εἰς πάσας τὰς γενεὰς τοῦ αἰῶνος τῶν αἰώνων, ἀμήν.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"You hate all workers of iniquity!" Psalm 5:5

"It is not a little dislike--but a thorough hatred which God bears to workers of iniquity. To be hated by God is an awful thing. O let us be very faithful in warning the wicked around us, for it will be a terrible thing for them to fall into the hands of an angry God!" Charles Spurgeon

"What a vile thing is sin, which makes the God of love and Father of mercies--into an enemy to His creatures; and which could only be purged by the blood of the Son of God!" Thomas Adams

"Not only the work--but worker of iniquity also becomes the object of His hatred." William Gurnall

"Those whom the Lord hates, must perish. What is more due to such impenitent sinners, than hatred? What is more proper than wrath--since they treasure up wrath? Will He entertain those in the bosom of His love--those whom His soul hates? No! Destruction is their portion. What is that which Christ hates? As Christ hates iniquity, so also the "workers of iniquity." David Clarkson

"If God's hatred is against the workers of iniquity--then how great is it against iniquity itself! If a man hates a poisonous creature--he hates poison much more. The strength of God's hatred is against sin--and so should we hate sin, and hate it with all our strength! Sin is an abomination unto God--let it be so unto us!" William Greenhill

This is a hard text to conceive of because it goes totally against everything that our culture blasts in our face about our self-worth and self-worship. Nevertheless, it is in the Bible. There is no way around it.

It is only when that sinner — who once was hated by God — is saved by God regenerating him & by repenting of his sin that he is transferred from being an enemy of God (=being hated by God) to being a friend of God (=being sovereignly loved by God).

Oh what a motivation for evangelism, prayer, & earnest pleading with sinners to repent & believe the gospel!

Monday, December 5, 2011

You know the story. Daniel 2 recounts the historical situation where King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon requested that the "wise" men of his empire reveal the dream and the interpretation that was troubling him. Obviously, they couldn't do it. So the King's order remained. All the wise men are to be killed because of their inadequacy to fulfill the King's command.

But Daniel heard about this and went before the King and asked for some time so that he may make known the interpretation of the King's dream.

Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision (2:19). *NOTE* the very first thing Daniel did was to pray to the Lord and acknowledge God's utter sovereignty.

He did not (first!) run and tell the king so as to save his life. He could have (and, perhaps, many of us would have done that). But he rather took the time to pray and acknowledge that it was God who revealed the dream and its interpretation.

In Daniel's prayer (2:20-23), some amazing theological truths are mentioned:

1. God and His "Name" (=character, being, attributes) are to be praised forever (2:20a).

Not Nebuchadnezzar and his "power", but the God of Israel and His intrinsic and sovereign power is to be praised!

2. Wisdom and power belongs only to the God of Israel (2:20b).

Nebuchadnezzar thought he was quite strong & impenetrable but true wisdom and power resides only with the one, true God of heaven!

3. God and God alone is the one who can change seasons, kings, and empires according to His prerogative (2:21a).

As God will reveal to Nebuchadnezzar, it is God who sets up kings and tears them down. It is God who raises empires and destroys them. All according to His will.

4. God gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding (2:21b).

Nebuchadnezzar's servants couldn't reveal the dream and its interpretation to the King. In fact, they acknowledged this when they said: "there is not a man on earth who could declare the matter to the king (2:10).

5. It is God who can reveal the profound and hidden things. Even darkness cannot be hidden from Him; only light dwells with Him (2:22).

Even the inner thoughts of Nebuchadnezzar cannot be hidden from God. Even that which he didn't even understand was understood plainly and comprehensively by God. Nothing is darkness to God.

6. God is worthy of all thanks and praise (2:23a).

Nebuchadnezzar certainly is not worthy of worship or adoration (as he so desires; cf. Dan 2 and 3). But the God of heaven is worthy of all thanks, praise, and worship!

7. God answers the requests of His people according to His will (2:23b).

God was well-pleased to answer Daniel's request in this matter in the affirmative. God would have been good *if* he had not revealed the dream and its interpretation, but God so chose to reveal it to Daniel to show that God is the one, true God who can in fact reveal mysteries that are not only within human beings (=Nebuchadnezzar) but also regarding the future of human history (2:36ff).

What a theologically loaded prayer. What a sovereign God! What a great lesson that the first thing that Daniel did was to pray and acknowledge thanks and praise to God. Then he went to Nebuchadnezzar and revealed his dream and its interpretation.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

From John Stott:

It is God himself who in holy wrath needs to be propitiated, God himself who in holy love undertook to do the propitiating, and God himself who in the person of his Son died for the propitiation of our sins. Thus, God took his own loving initiative to appease his own righteous anger by bearing it his own self in his own Son when he took our place and died for us. There is no crudity here to evoke our ridicule, only the profundity of holy love to evoke our worship.

(John Stott, The Cross of Christ, 175).

What infinite mystery to the grace & mercy of God upon such sinners like you and me!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Titus 1:1 - "...the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness"
(Titus 1:1 - ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας τῆς κατ᾽ εὐσέβειαν)

Isn't it amazing that Paul reminds the believers in Crete that the knowledge of the truth is not an end in and of itself. Knowledge about God is good — and commendable. But this is only a step to the ongoing life of godliness. In other words: what you learn must affect the way you live. What you hear preached in church must affect how you live during the week. What you meditate on every day in God's Word must affect the way you live during the day.

Does your knowledge of the truth affect the godliness of your life?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Amazing and totally relevant truth can be found in Ezekiel 33.

Jerusalem has just been ransacked by Nebuchadnezzar & the Babylonians (Ezek 33:21-29). Ezekiel and others are already in exile and they have received news from a messenger that the city has been taken (33:21).

God told Ezekiel, the son of man, to continue preaching even when the people of Israel come before Ezekiel and listen to his message (33:30). They come as God's people come, they sit before him as he delivers God's message which comes from the mouth of the LORD (33:31).

But when the people come, they sit and listen to God's Word, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain (33:31). What a picture of people who are totally religious outwardly, they sit in church regularly, yet they sin blatantly and rebel against God (33:31).

So bad is it that Ezekiel has become to these people like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument for they hear your words (which he speaks for YHWH) but they do not practice them (33:32).

So when the judgment finally happens, as surely as it will declares the LORD, that the people will know that a prophet has been in their midst!

From this text we see that the preacher, the watchman and spokesman for the Lord, must be faithful to deliver faithfully the Word of the LORD. He must not fear man nor skimp on the tough doctrines. But he must be faithful to the commission of God His Master.

The responsibility of the people is to sit and hear the Word from the Lord spoken through the preacher (God's mouthpiece). BUT, the people must listen to and apply the Word of God rather than continually rejecting the Word of the Lord so that they can walk in the lusts of their flesh and in the idolatries of their heart.

Preacher - do people know that "a prophet has been in their midst" when you preach?

Christian - do you hear the Word of the Lord regularly and apply what you hear specifically, deliberately, and carefully so that your life changes where it needs to change and so you don't leave 'church' to then enter again into the idolatries, sins, and lusts of life?

How relevant & clear God's Word is!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Some very helpful words from John Piper:

When you don't delight in God, what can you do to change?

1. Realize that authentic joy and delight in God is a gift (Gal 5:22; Ps 51:12).

2. Realize that joy must fought for relentlessly (2 Cor 1:24; Phil 1:25; 2 Tim 4:7; 1 Tim 6:12).

3. Resolve to attack all known sin in your life (however big or small they are!) (Rom 6:11-13).

4. Realize that the battle for joy and delight in God is fundamentally a fight to see God for Who He really is (Ps 34:8; 2 Cor 4:4-6; 1 John 3:2; Ps 9:10)!

5. Meditate on God's Word day and night (Ps 23:3; Ps 19:7,8; John 15:11; Ps 1:2-3; Rom 15:13).

6. Pray earnestly and relentlessly for open heart-eyes and a genuine delight in God (John 16:24; Ps 90:14; Ps 85:6).

7. Learn to preach to yourself rather than listen to yourself (Ps 42:5).

8. Be patient in the night of 'God's seeming absence' and continue to trust in Him (Ps 40:1-3).

(adapted from John Piper, Desiring God, 352-64)

Friday, November 25, 2011

What a fabulous opportunity the preacher has to delve into God's Word and studies the profound glories of it. One such doctrine the Bible teaches is that all true believers will go to heaven and be with the Lord.

Tomorrow night I'm preaching on how we as believers will relate to God in heaven. My topic is lofty. The Scriptures are sufficient. My notes are long. And my heart is full. Just think, we as redeemed sinners will have unobstructed vision of God, unhindered fellowship with God, and unending delight in God! What a profound gift of God's grace!

At the conclusion of my sermon, I've got the words to Fanny Crosby's hymn My Savior First of All (wrote in 1891):

When my life work is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.

I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
And redeemed by His side I shall stand,
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
By the print of the nails in His hand.

Oh, the soul thrilling rapture when I view His blessèd face,
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye;
How my full heart will praise Him for the mercy, love and grace,
That prepare for me a mansion in the sky.

Oh, the dear ones in glory, how they beckon me to come,
And our parting at the river I recall;
To the sweet vales of Eden they will sing my welcome home;
But I long to meet my Savior first of all.

Through the gates to the city in a robe of spotless white,
He will lead me where no tears will ever fall;
In the glad song of ages I shall mingle with delight;
But I long to meet my Savior first of all.

Amazingly, Crosby wrote those words as a blind woman. When she died, the first person she saw was Jesus!

So then:
"Let your souls delight in communion with God while you are on earth, since you look for your happiness in communion with Him in heaven. Let your speech and actions savor heaven; and in your manner of life, look like the country to which you are going! . . . In heaven, you will have peace and plenty, profit and pleasure, and everything desirable; full satisfaction of your most enlarged desires. Let the expectations of heaven, then, lift up your heads with joy! Gird up your loins and so run that you may obtain, trampling on everything that may hinder you on your way to the kingdom. Never regard any duty too hard, nor any cross too heavy, nor any pains too great, so that you may attain the crown of glory" (Thomas Boston)!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving is never out of season, for we have always much to be grateful for.

We must view ALL THINGS as . . .
  • arranged by His wisdom,
  • dependent on His will,
  • sanctified by His blessing,
  • according with His promises,
  • and flowing from His love!

"In everything give thanks!" 1 Thess 5.17

HT: James Smith
Enjoy some turkey & football today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Martin Luther was right in the 16th century in answering the question: what happens at the moment of salvation?

Though faith in Jesus Christ alone and by God's matchless grace alone, God forgives the sinner.


God imputes (=credits, reckons) Christ's perfect righteousness to the sinner as if it were the sinner's own.

Thus, when the sinner recognizes his own sin and his own need of divine grace to rescue him from eternal judgment and he places his faith in Jesus Christ alone recognizing that He took the Father's wrath on the cross in the place of the deserving sinner. Thus, God forgives the sinner. At the same time, God doesn't just forgive the sinner and leave him "neutral." He imputes to that sinner all of Christ's perfect righteousness as if it were the sinner's very own perfection. Thus, the sinner receives an "alien righteousness."

This is the gift of God in salvation. "Salvation is of the LORD" (Jonah 2:9).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I rejoice greatly in the faithfulness of God to His covenant with His people, Israel. What God started and promised, He will fulfill perfectly and completely.

My study in God's Word this morning led me to Ezekiel 20 which is where Ezekiel recounts God's dealings with Israel in her past when God chose Israel and revealed Himself to her (20:5) and promised them a better land in which to dwell (20:6). Yet they rebelled and worshiped false idols (20:8).

So God thrust them into the wilderness (20:10) to test them and show His sovereign power, love, and provision for them — even in the midst of disciplining them. Yet they still rebelled against God and walked after their idols (20:13, 16).

So God promised them in the wilderness that they would be scattered among the nations and dispersed among all the lands if they did not obey and follow Yahweh (20:23; cf. Lev 26 and Deut 28). Yet when they entered the land of promise, they worshiped idols and followed their detestable and wicked practices (20:27-29).

Yet God sovereignly determines in v.33 that He will be their King (20:33). There will come a point when Israel knows that He is the LORD (20:38).

THEN Ezekiel tells them that "later" Israel will listen to God, and His holy name will not be profaned any longer. For on God's holy mountain (=Jerusalem), on the high mountain of Israel there will be Israel—all of them—serving the Lord in the land of Israel (20:40). There God will accept them and God will seek their worship. Israel will know that He is the LORD (20:41-42). Israel will remember her past and "loathe herself" for all the evil that she has done in Yahweh's sight (20:43).

I am quite confident that this passage (just one of a myriad) teaches the history of Israel beginning with God's election of her, to her time in Egypt, to her wanderings in the wilderness, to her entering into the Land of Promise, to her exile and restoration, leading and culminating in the kingdom in Israel where God is her King and where they recognize their past sin and acknowledge God for who He really is. (*note: this has yet to happen, read Rom 9 and esp. 11*).

God is a faithful God and keeps His promises — even when Israel continues to reject Him. But thanks be to God for His unconditional faithfulness to His own promises. He will most certainly restore Israel in the future and bring her back into the land of Israel for her kingdom where He will receive her worship & be glorified in her.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wayne Mack helps by offering three insights:

1. The inerrant Bible to which Christians are committed as an authority in life teaches that God has provided for us in His Word whatever is true and necessary for successful living. It declares that God has given us, in the Bible, everything we need for being in right relationship with God, ourselves, and other people.

2. Because this is true, professing Christians have two options: either they must yield to its teaching on this matter or they must abandon the idea that the Bible is inerrant and authoritative. It is either inerrant and authoritative and also sufficient or it is none of these things. If the Bible claims to be sufficient in the ways and for the purposes previously delineated and it is not, then you cannot say it is inerrant and authoritative. Given what the Bible teaches about itself, you simply cannot have it both ways.

3. This final conclusion is a natural concomitant of accepting the truthfulness of the first conclusion: Because the Bible asserts its own sufficiency for counseling-related issues, secular psychology has nothing to offer for understanding or providing solutions to the non-physical problems of people. When it comes to counseling people, we have no reason for depending on the insights of finite and fallen men. Rather, we have every reason to place our confidence in the sure, dependable, and entirely trustworthy revelation of God given to us in Holy Scripture. That is because it contains a God-ordained, sufficient, comprehensive system of theoretical commitments, principles, insights, goals, and appropriate methods for understanding and resolving the non-physical problems of people. It provides for us a model that needs no supplement. God, the expert on helping people, has given us in Scripture counseling perspectives and methodology that are wholly adequate for resolving our sin- related problems.

(from Wayne Mack, "Sufficiency of Scripture in Counseling," TMSJ 9, no. 1 [Spring 1981]: 82).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hell. Few believe it & it is seldom that preachers herald it. but last night my responsibility was to herald Revelation 14.9-12, the scariest text in the Bible on eternal hell.

Listen or stream here.
If Christ is the Head and if He builds his church,

Then we must trust in Him that His purposes and plans for the church will be accomplished.

Then we must acknowledge that He will build His church, not programs, people, entertainment, or anything else.

Then we must remember that everything we do must exalt Him as the Head and Sovereign over His Church.

Then we must content with all our might holding firm to the great confession that Jesus Christ is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Then we must accept any way that He supports the church.

Then we must allow Him to speak in and through the regular reading and the faithful proclamation of His Word.

Then the church growth movements and strategies that are culturally driven are doomed to failure since Christ’s headship and sovereignty are not culturally bound.

Then we must make certain that we are holy, pure, undefiled, and useful to the Master to accomplish this work of serving Him in the building of His church.

Then we should regularly repent of our sin when we often strive to build Christ’s church according to our methods, desires, ego-centric passions, and self-styled sovereignty.

Then we must have flexibility in humbly and joyfully accepting change because not all of our plans may be in direct harmony with God’s sovereign prerogative.

Then we must be exuberant and unending with our joy because Christ’s church is His body and it shall never fail.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Timely, good, and heart-penetrating words concerning Richard Baxter:

Baxter's preaching was characterized by a passionate evangelistic appeal. The great reality which moulded his ministry was the fact that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Extreme bodily weakness increased his awareness that there was but a step between him and death, whom he called his 'neighbour'. Every duty was to be carried out, every sermon preached, in the light of the great day. 'I daily know and think of that approaching hour', he says. His congregation is described as 'a company of ignorant, carnal, miserable sinners... who must be changed or damned. Methinks I even see them entering upon their final woe! Methinks I hear them crying out for help, for speediest help!'

This awareness of eternity made Baxter an emotional preacher. 'If you want to know the art of pleading' said Spurgeon, 'read Baxter.' Yet his emotion was not undisciplined, but fuelled by his comprehension of truth, for he had no time for 'an affected fervency.' 'Light first, then heat' was his motto — first the exposition of the truth, then the words of piercing appeal springing from that truth. At the close of 'A Call to the Unconverted to turn and live' he appeals to his hearers with such tender earnestness that we can almost see the tears upon his cheeks. 'My heart is troubled to think how I shall leave you, lest... I should leave you as I found you, till you awake in hell... I am as hearty a beggar with you this day, for the saving of your souls, as I would be for my own supply, if I were forced to come a begging to your doors. And therefore if you would hear me then, hear me now. If you would pity me then, be entreated now to pity yourselves... 0 sirs, believe it, death and judgment, heaven and hell, are other matters when you come near them, than they seem to carnal eyes afar off. Then you will hear such a message as I bring you with more awakened, regardful hearts.'

The focus of his preaching was an urgent invitation to receive Christ. Baxter preached for a verdict, he sought to 'drive sinners to a stand and make them see... that they must unavoidably be either converted or condemned.' His words at the close of 'Making Light of Christ and Salvation' are powerful and pointed: 'When God hath shaken those careless souls out of their bodies, and you must answer for all your sins in your own name; Oh then what would you give for a saviour!...When you see the world hath left you, and your companions in sin have deceived themselves and you, and all your merry days are gone; then what would you give for that Christ and salvation that now you account not worth your labour!... You that cannot make light of a little sickness, or of want, or of natural death, no, not of a toothache, but groan as if you were undone; how will you then make light of the fury of the Lord, which will burn against the condenmers of His grace? I come now to know your resolution for the time to come. What say you? Do you mean to set as light by Christ and salvation as hitherto you have done and to be the same men after all this? I hope not.' The sharp edge was always present - a choice had to be made, a verdict given, an offer of mercy accepted or rejected.


So preacher, I ask you: do you preach with evangelistic appeal? Emotions? Urgently invite sinners to repent and believe in Christ?
This upcoming week will be quite busy for me and thus I come to you asking for prayer.

1. Tonight I'm preaching one of the toughest texts in the Bible to herald—Revelation 14:9-12—in a sermon I've titled: "The horrors of hell unveiled before your heart."

A growing number of churches and leaders are diminishing the importance of this doctrine. Fewer churches and pastors are really preaching on the doctrine of hell. So tonight, my responsibility is to lay before my hearers 9 descriptions of hell from Revelation 14. Pray for me (I'll post the mp3 link here tomorrow).
2. This upcoming Sunday I have my first (of two) ordination oral exams. This Sunday, my two examiners will grill me on bible knowledge and biblical counseling for two hours. Pray for great wisdom, insight, & time to continue my study this week in preparation for that exam.

I feel so honored to be examined by elders and pastors from Grace Community Church and from a professor at The Master's College. I pray that this may encourage me as I embark upon the new ministry of Christ Fellowship Bible Church—a church plant in the Brentwood, MO area starting mid-December.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ephesians 1:18-19 — I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.

(Ephesians 1:18-19 — πεφωτισμένους τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς τῆς καρδίας [ὑμῶν] εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι ὑμᾶς τίς ἐστιν ἡ ἐλπὶς τῆς κλήσεως αὐτοῦ, τίς ὁ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τῆς κληρονομίας αὐτοῦ ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις, καὶ τί τὸ ὑπερβάλλον μέγεθος τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ εἰς ἡμᾶς τοὺς πιστεύοντας κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τοῦ κράτους τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ.)

This section of Scripture divides into three phrases that define what it is that Paul wants the Ephesians to know (εἰς τὸ εἰδέναι ὑμᾶς). All of the clauses begin with "what is" (τίς):

1. Know the hope of God's calling.

2. Know the riches of God's glorious inheritance in the saints.

3. Know the surpassing greatness of God's power toward us who believe.

As believers, have you recently considered what is the hope of God's calling of you? Have you marveled at the utter riches of God's glorious inheritance in the saints (mind-baffling thought!)? And have you understood the surpassing greatness of God's power that is at work in us who believe? (And if you're not sure just how powerful God's power really is, then just read verses 20-23 to get an idea.)

Let's be believers who know God's hope, his glorious inheritance, and his divine power at work in us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

So many of you have prayed for Tikvah and for our family and we give thanks for that. The doctors allowed us to come home from the hospital late Tuesday afternoon. The last few days have been busy getting her on a schedule, getting her to feed, and attending to Kiah as well.

God has been so good to us & we praise Him for His immense and undeserved goodness to us during this time. Elizabeth and I have learned new areas where we need to grow spiritually and have learned to trust the Lord and rely on Him in other areas where we've never been tested before.

Praise be to God for his unending, unfailing, and unmatched grace.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Great words from Jay Adams:

The goal of all counseling, whether biblical or secular, is to change people. However, all unbiblical systems, even when they speak of doing “depth” counseling, change people only at a surface level. (Jer.6:14; Mk.7:14-23).

“The only person who can really operate at a level of depth is the person who knows how to go to the heart of a man’s problem. And the only way to go to the heart of a man’s problem is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit, who transforms the heart of man and thus transforms his life patterns.”
Thanks again for praying, dear friends. After a number of attempts, Tikvah finally gave in and is breathing on her own without the ventilator! She is recovering very well & in the next day or two will be transferred out of the CTICU to another unit for recovery till she goes home.

Also, last night we were able to take Hezekiah back to see her & he had a huge smile & immediately went to kiss her on the head (let's just hope that kind of tenderness continues...).Please keep praying for her that she would eat orally. She ate quite well yesterday afternoon but last night was a bit stubborn again. Pray that she'd get the hang of this thing swiftly.

Thanks so much!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanks so much for praying for Tikvah. She has done remarkably well through the surgery, the closing of the chest, and her recovery.

She has still refused to breathe on her own. She enjoys the ventilator breathing for her so the goal is, Lord willing, for her to be able to breathe on her own either today or tomorrow.

The next major step (and the one that takes the most time) is learning to feed orally.

We're hoping that God continues to glorify Himself as she recovers and as we strive to be a witness for Christ at the hospital. Thanks so much for your prayers. We treasure the family of Christ who together has come alongside of us in lifting our daughter up in prayer. Thank you.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Some think that God's plan for national, ethnic Israel is abolished but this viewpoint runs contradictory to at least two reasons that Jeremiah provides in chapter 31.

1) As long as the sun, moon, and stars exist, the nation of Israel will exist as God's people.

Jeremiah 31:35-36 — Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: "If this fixed order departs From before Me," declares the LORD, "Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever."

2) As long as man cannot measure the immensity of the heavens, so the nation of Israel will remain as God's people.

Jeremiah 31:37 — Thus says the LORD, "If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done," declares the LORD.

It's hard to read texts like these with a plain, normal hermeneutic and conclude with any other interpretation. God states that Israel will be His people as long as the sun, and moon, and stars exist and as long as no one can reach the extremities of the galaxies and the vastness of the earth's foundations.

Paul comments on this in the book of Romans:

Romans 11:25-26 — For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery-- so that you will not be wise in your own estimation-- that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sometimes people say and word things really well. Kevin DeYoung's post on dude—where's your bride? is one of those articles.

It's a call to the men to step up, grow up, mature up, and look for a wife.

He's right on & accurate in what he says.
According to Paul:

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

This brief section of verses reveals a number of important truths about the purpose of afflictions.

1) In any and every affliction in life that anyone may encounter, regardless of the seriousness of it and its outcome, God is worthy to be blessed and praised!

2) There are seasons of life full of trials in which believers quite clearly learn that God is in fact the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.

3) God comforts His own in all our afflictions. God doesn't leave His people. He certainly doesn't allow them to go through the affliction on their own. Rather, he comforts His people while in the afflictions. Note it doesn't say that God prevents His people from entering into afflictions. But while they are in the affliction—regardless of the intensity and extent of it—God comforts them all the while.

4) The purpose ("so that"; εἰς τὸ δύνασθαι) we may be able to comfort others who are in any affliction with the comfort that we have received while going through our own affliction. A wealth of pastoral wisdom comes from this verse. God allows suffering and then attends to His people in their suffering so that when others in their social sphere are going through sufferings, they may be able to comfort with the same amount of comfort which they themselves received.

Praise the Lord! Rightly does Paul state a little later on:

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 — But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"To whom be glory forever" (2 Tim 4.18). This should be the single desire of the Christian. I take it that he should not have twenty wishes, but only one. He may desire to see his family brought up well, but only that "to God may be glory forever." he may wish for prosperity in business, but only so far as it may help him to promote this: "to whom be glory forever." He may desire to attain more gifts and more graces, but it should only be that "to him may be glory forever." This one thing I know, Christian: You are not acting as you ought to do when you are moved by any other motive than the one motive of your Lord's glory.

—Charles Spurgeon

Monday, October 31, 2011

The analogies between my daughter’s heart condition and the spiritual condition of every human being are here defined.

Just as my daughter was born with a bad heart, so every human being who is born into this world has a spiritually corrupt heart.

Just as my daughter needs surgery performed on her heart so as to spare her life, so it is with every human. Every person needs spiritual surgery performed on one’s heart so that one can really spiritually live.

Just as my daughter needs someone outside of her to accomplish this new heart-surgery in her, so every sinner needs someone outside of himself to accomplish this heart-surgery which results in regeneration.

Just as my daughter now is in the NICU being so tenderly, constantly, and frequently attended to, we know that without surgery that fixes the problem, all this work by the NICU doctors would all be for naught. So it is with our spiritual conditions. Sinners can try to attend to themselves with such care, frequency, fervency, and diligence to give themselves life, but unless God performs the heart surgery and regenerates the heart, all that self-righteous lawkeeping will be for naught.

Just as my daughter has no idea that she has a bad heart and is in need of life-saving heart surgery, so the deadened sinner who is so blinded by his sin and false worship has no idea that he has a bad heart that will damn him to hell unless the Spirit gives life.

Just as my daughter looks beautiful and cute on the outside but yet her inward parts are in need of life-saving transformation, so it is with unregenerate sinners. They can look religious and ‘all-put-together’ on the outside but have no spiritual life because of the wickedness that resides in the inward parts.

Just as my daughter’s open heart surgery should (Lord willing), be a one-time surgery and thus fix her heart condition for life, so it is with the salvation God works in each sinner. When God takes a spiritually dead heart and breathes new life in it, that one-time “surgery” has spiritually justified the sinner so that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Pray with me that God would spare Tikvah’s life so that we can use these (and many more) analogies to evangelize her in the coming years with the hopes that God might see fit to draw her to Himself in repentance and saving faith in the substitutionary work of Christ.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Born at 2:16am on Friday, October 29th, Tikvah Hadassah Kirkland entered the world weighing in at 7lbs 13oz.

She is stable and doing well in the NICU as her heart-surgery is scheduled for Wednesday (more updates to follow). Thanks for your prayers!

Soli Deo gloria.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A timely reminder from J.C. Ryle:

"I charge my readers to remember this. Stand fast on old principles. Do not forsake the old paths. Let nothing tempt you to believe that multiplication of forms and ceremonies, constant reading of liturgical services, or frequent communions, will ever do so much good to souls as the powerful, fiery, fervent preaching of God's Word. Daily services without sermons may gratify and edify a few handfuls of believers, but they will never reach, draw, attract, or arrest the great mass of mankind. If men want to do good to the multitude, if they want to reach their hearts and consciences, they must walk in the steps of Wycliffe, Latimer, Luther, Chrysostom, and St. Paul. They must attack them through their ears; they must blow the trumpet of the everlasting Gospel loud and long; they must preach the Word!"

JC Ryle, Light from Old Times, 7-8.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From David Peterson:

"Throughout the Bible, acceptable worship means approaching or engaging with God on the terms that he proposes and in the manner that he makes possible. It involves honouring, serving and respecting him, abandoning any loyalty or devotion that hinders an exclusive relationship with him. Although some of Scripture's terms for worship may refer to specific gestures of homage, rituals or priestly ministrations, worship is more fundamentally faith expressing itself in obedience and adoration. Consequently, in both Testaments it is often shown to be a personal and moral fellowship with God relevant to every sphere of life."

From Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship, 283.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Here's a helpful visual of how the building up of the saints happens when we minister to one another:
From: David Peterson, Engaging with God, 221.
Good reminder from David Peterson in his book Engaging with God:

"An engagement with God through Christ is now the only way to offer the worship that is due to Him" (187, emphasis added).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This gets my bones burnin' to preach.

Another leading characteristic of Whitefield’s preaching was his tremendous earnestness. One poor uneducated man said of him, that “he preached like a lion.” He succeeded in showing people that he at least believed all he was saying, and that his heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, were bent on making them believe it too. His sermons were not like the morning and evening gun at Portsmouth, a kind of formal discharge, fired off as a matter of course, that disturbs nobody. They were all life and fire. There was no getting away from them. Sleep was next to impossible. You must listen whether you liked it or not. There was a holy violence about him which firmly took your attention by storm. You were fairly carried off your legs by his energy before you had time to consider what you would do. This, we may be sure, was one secret of his success. We must convince men that we are in earnest ourselves if we want to be believed. The difference between one preacher and another, is often not so much in the things said, as in the manner in which they are said.

It is recorded by one of his biographers that an American gentleman once went to hear him, for the first time, in consequence of the report he heard of his preaching powers. The day was rainy, the congregation comparatively thin, and the beginning of the sermon rather heavy. Our American friend began to say to himself; “This man is no great wonder after all” He looked round, and saw the congregation as little interested as himself. One old man, in front of the pulpit, had fallen asleep. But all at once Whitefield stopped short. His countenance changed. And then he suddenly broke forth in an altered tone: “If I had come to speak to you in my own name, you might well rest your elbows on your knees, and your heads on your hands, and sleep; and once in a while look up, and say, What is this babbler talking of?

But I have not come to you in my own name. No! I have come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts” There he brought down his hand and foot with a force that made the building ring), “and I must and will be heard.” The congregation started. The old man woke up at once. “Ay, ay!” cried Whitefield, fixing his eyes on him, “I have waked you up, have I? I meant to do it. I am not come here to preach to stocks and stones: I have come to you in the name of the Lord God of Hosts, and I must, and will, have an audience.” The hearers were stripped of their apathy at once. Every word of the sermon after this was heard with deep attention, and the American gentleman never forgot it.

From J.C. Ryle's Church Leaders writing on George Whitefield

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Today God blessed me with being with my 3rd Street Heralds team today which I thoroughly enjoy. Today there were many who preached God's Word and God's gospel to a lot of people walking on the Promenade.

Here is a link of my John 3 sermon, thanks to Living Waters Ministry.

At about the 18:00 minute mark, some opposition arises.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Promoting false theology is not new. Rob Bell is following the step of many throughout history who deny the unpopular and hard-to-swallow doctrines of Scripture. The doctrine Bell denies is the eternal, conscious, torment by God upon all the unbelieving in the Lake of Fire forever.

He has a second book coming out; it's actually a sequel to Love Wins. This one is called The Love Wins Companion. Should be out 11/15/2011.

You should be alert of Bell & his belief on hell — through it is by no means new; but he is quite popular.

To rebut his position, I give two Scriptures from the book of Revelation:

Revelation 14:9-11 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "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. 11 "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."

And again...

Revelation 20:7-10 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 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.
Elizabeth and I trust the Lord with our daughter's heart condition and fully acknowledge that God will do whatever will bring Him the most glory — whether that be in her life or in her death. We are praying for wisdom as the surgeons will perform open-heart surgery in the first few days after the birth, but we desire to trust the Lord and rest upon His unchanging goodness.

Pray with us for her life, yes. But pray with us more importantly for God to be glorified in this whole situation with Tikvah and TGA (=Transposition of the Great Arteries). Her due date is Thursday, October 27th. We'll try to post updates here on the blog & on facebook. Thanks so much for your prayers!

My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope (תִּקְוָה) is from Him (Ps 62:5).

Soli Deo gloria.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Read this letter that James Smith—pastor in the 19th century—penned this letter that is well worth your read. It is called Letter to an Unsaved Friend.

Dear unsaved friend,
Could you please read the following carefully, and then sign it--if you agree to it.

I am resolved to persevere in sin, and follow the maxims and customs of those around me--though it costs me the loss of my soul, and exposes me to everlasting damnation.

I am resolved to reject the Son of God--I will not embrace Him as my Savior, or have Him reign over me. I am resolved that I will not accept the pardon which God presents to me in the gospel, though it cost Jesus His life to procure it--and I know I must eternally perish without it. I am determined not to submit to God's way of salvation, and I consent to be lost forever! I have made up my mind, that I will never consent to receive a free salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ--I will not have it!

I am resolved . . .
to reject God's message,
to dare His justice,
to defy His power,
to refuse His mercy,
to brave His threatened wrath, and
to harden myself against all His invitations, expostulations, exhortations, and promises!

I am resolved that I will not . . .
bow to His authority,
yield to His entreaties,
believe on His Son,
repent of my sins,
love His name,
or obey His precepts!

I am determined that there shall never be joy in Heaven among the angels of God--on account of my conversion.

I will never . . .
desert the ranks of Satan,
give up my sinful practices,
ask for mercy at God's hands,
or take up my cross and follow Christ!

I am resolved . . .
to keep on in my old wicked course,
to persevere in my present sinful path,
to associate with my carnal companions--
and if it secures my eternal damnation--then let it do so!

I will not receive salvation on God's terms,
I will not stoop to be saved by grace alone,
I will not take the yoke of Christ upon me, and engage to be His subject and servant--even though Heaven and all the glories of eternity would be secured by it.

If I cannot escape the wrath of God--but by faith, repentance, and holiness--why, I am determined go to Hell, for I am resolved not to yield to any such terms!

It is of no use for the preacher to spend His breath upon me! My mind is made up, I will be my own master, I will take my own course! No one has any right to interfere with me--for I shall injure no one but myself!

I have no objection to going to church, or to attending to some religious forms--but to give my heart to God, to be crucified to the present world, and to make God's glory the end of life--will never do for me; therefore I gladly take the consequences.

If this is required of those who would be true Christians--then you must stop urging me--for I will not yield! You must stop all attempts to convert me, for my mind is made up! I have heard hundreds of sermons, I have read the Bible myself--but I have hardened myself against the whole, and I am not going to yield now!

Tell me no more of the Savior's love,
tell me no more of the pleasures of holiness,
tell me no more of the terrors of death,
tell me no more of the dreadful judgment,
tell me no more of the joys of Heaven,
tell me no more of the agonies of Hell--
for you will never induce me to yield myself unto God, and seek the salvation of my soul. For my mind is made up, and my daily conduct is enough to convince you of it, if anything would. I am resolved not to yield--let the consequences be what they may!

I will go on just as I have done!

I will not be Christ's servant!

I will not be God's child!

I will obey only Satan!

I will follow the course of this evil world!

I will serve my lusts and pleasures!

In proof thereof, witness my signature, ____________.

Will you now sign your name?

Will you now solemnly put your seal to this statement?

Why are you so afraid?

Do not your actions speak louder than your words? Is not your daily practice stronger proof--than just putting your name to a statement once? If you do not say the above in words--yet if you do so in your actions--then where is the difference? Does not God read the language of your life? If you say it in your daily practice--then why not boldly take the pen and openly sign your name?

Soon the judgment shall be set, and the books shall be opened--and your criminality and folly shall be published before assembled worlds!

Well, will you sign the above? Why not? Is it true of you--or is it not?
From AW Tozer:

"Has it ever occurred to you that 100 pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So 100 worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become "unity" conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Heading to downtown LA

An awesome night of talking, Q&A, food, and more food!

The greatest part of my week—by far—has been my date night with my beautiful wife, Elizabeth.
Here's a good one by D.A. Carson:

"Worship is the proper response of all moral, sentient beings to God, ascribing all honor and worth to their Creator-God precisely because he is worthy, delightfully so. This side of the Fall, human worship of God properly responds to the redemptive provisions that God has graciously made. While all true worship is God-centered, Christian worship is no less Christ-centered. Empowered by the Spirit and in line with the stipulations of the new covenant, it manifests itself in all our living, finding its impulse in the gospel, which restores our relationship with our Redeemer-God and therefore also with our fellow image-bearers, our co-worshippers. Such worship therefore manifests itself both in adoration and in action, both in the individual believer and in corporate worship, which is worship offered up in the context of the body of believers, who strive to align all the forms of their devout ascription of all worth to God with the panoply of new covenant mandates and examples that bring to fulfillment the glories of antecedent revelation and anticipate the consummation."

Phew. That's excllent.

From D.A. Carson, "Worship under the Word," in Worship by the Book, ed. by D.A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 26.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Martin Bucer prayed in 1537:

"Almighty, gracious Father, forasmuch as our whole salvation depends upon our true understanding of your Holy Word, grant to all of us that our hearts, being freed from worldly affairs, may hear and apprehend your Holy Word with all diligence and faith, that we may rightly understand your gracious will, cherish it, and live by it with all earnestness, to you praise and honor; through our Lord Jesus Christ."

(from Chapell, Christ-Centered Worship, 206).

Let's be reminded that when we read, study, preach, or teach God's Word, we are all in need of the Spirit's grace to understand the meaning of the text & to apply it accurately to our lives.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I preached 1 Peter 3:7 last night and have never had as many men come up to me afterwards and talk. Amazing how God works. And amazing that this is such a dire need in our culture today.

Ever wonder what it means to be a godly man & a godly husband? What does God require of you? The world doesn't have the answers? Our own sinful & corrupt hearts don't have the answers? Men's Magazine doesn't have the answers. But God's Word does have the answers!

Listen to the sermon here.

1 Peter 3:7 — You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Yes that's right. The Scriptures directly connect biblical husbanding to spiritual living. If the husband is not performing his duty in glorifying God by honoring and learning his wife, then according to 1 Peter 3:7 his prayers are "cut off" or "hindered."

1 Peter 3:7 — You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Tonight I have the privilege to open God's Word again at the Bible Tabernacle and I'm very excited but greatly convicted at the same time to exposit this text.

Here we learn that it is impossible to have a vibrant spiritual life while neglecting one's marital life. We are called to learn our wives (and 'keep learning' them!), to honor our wives, and to follow Christ as we lead our wives so that our prayers are not hindered.

Very sobering; very true; very hard; and very very relevant for marriages today in our culture. I'll post the audio tomorrow.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Exodus 34:6-7:

‏ וַיַּעֲבֹ֨ר יְהוָ֥ה ׀ עַל־פָּנָיו֮ וַיִּקְרָא֒ יְהוָ֣ה ׀ יְהוָ֔ה אֵ֥ל רַח֖וּם וְחַנּ֑וּן אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם וְרַב־חֶ֥סֶד וֶאֱמֶֽת
(And the Lord passed by before him and He called out: 'The LORD, the LORD, a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abundant in covenant-love and truth.')

We often see in our New Testaments the phrase "just as it is written" that recalls an OT text that the NT author cites. But let's not forget that the OT writers were just as saturated in the Word as well. Another fascinating study is to see how the OT uses the OT.

I'm preaching on Ps 117 this Sunday and a phrase occurs there that clearly refers back to Ex 34:6-7. A number of important truths can be spoken of regarding this excellent text:

1) The Lord declares His own character in Ex 34:6-7. It is not another telling us about God; these are the words of the LORD about Himself.

2) The Lord is a compassionate God. He is compassionate towards those who are His in a very specific, particular, and fatherly way. Because of the Lord's compassions we are not consumed.

3) The Lord is a gracious God. When we were in a state of misery and utter helplessness, God showed divine grace toward us. Grace is God's lavishing undeserved compassion and mercy upon sinners that deserve just the opposite.

4) The Lord is slow to anger. The phrase (אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם) literally reads: "long of nose." He has a high patience-level. God displays His patience towards us daily. We sin, rebel, flaunt our self-sufficiency and pride constantly yet God is slow to anger. He does not treat us as our sins deserve.

5) The Lord is abundant in steadfast, covenant-keeping love. This is more than just "love." This is the covenant-keeping, steadfast, unconditional, unbreakable, unilateral, unrestrained kind of love. God has this love for His people. The amazing thing is that we sin against Him and yet He still is faithful in his love for us.

6) The Lord is abundant in truth. Everything about the Lord is truth. He encapsulates what is true. He Himself is the true God. There is only one true God. And that is the God revealed in the Word of God. Everything that is opposed to what the true word of God reveals about the one true God is opposed to God and therefore false. God is the standard for what is right and true for He is, in Himself, the essence of truth.

Therefore, let's glory in this great, sovereign, and powerful God we worship & serve.

Psalm 117:1-2 sums it up well:
Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD!
Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!