Monday, January 31, 2011

CCC Let There Be Light from JP on Vimeo.

The sign ups are about to close. If you would like to join us, contact me ASAP. The cost is $220. We're meeting at CCC at 2:30pm this Friday.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pray for me as I preach:

Saturday AM — 2 Chron 26: Humility and Purity from King Uzziah (Men's breakfast)

Saturday PM — Revelation 2:18-29: The Deceived Church of Thyatira: God Knows and Sees Everything You Do and He Judges All the Sexually Immoral—Especially Within His Church (Rehabilitation Outreach)

Sunday AM — Deuteronomy 6:4-9: "Fathers, God Commands You to Teach, Disciple, and Train Up Your Children—How Are You Doing?"

Pray for me. I am burning with God's Word and eager to herald to God's people what God has taught me in His Word.

Friday, January 28, 2011

This morning I'm preaching on Ephesians 2:1-10 at a chapel of an elementary school in the area.

My goal is simple: give them the gospel. What is that gospel?

I. You Are Dead! (1-3)

Ephesians 2:1-3 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

The simple point here is that every single person is dead in sin and totally unable to come to God for salvation. Man can no more bring himself to life spiritually than a dead man can raise himself from the grave. It's just an impossibility. It can't—and it won't—happen! This is man's predicament.

II. God Gives Life! (4-9)

Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Yet, God, out of his amazing and effectual grace, makes deadened sinners whom He has chosen alive according to His sovereign power. He makes us alive together with Christ. Note that makes us alive. He raises us up with Christ. He seats us with Christ in the heavenly places. It is work. He does the saving, from first to last. This is God's sovereignty in salvation.

III. Live for God! (10)

Ephesians 2:10 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Finally, as a result of God's saving of His own, His regenerated people are to live lives of good works. God has prepared us for good works. He has prepared beforehand that we would walk in them. We are His workmanship. We are to be obedient to Him. We are to live in Him. We are to abide in Him. We are to walk in holiness in all areas of life. This is God's work in sanctifying us to present us before the throne on that final day faultless and without reproach.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

As worded so well by Larry Helyer:

"The theological question uppermost in Paul's mind in Romans 9-11 is, Can God be trusted? That is, having shown that God's saving activity revealed in Christ is available and unassailable (Rom 1-8), Paul must answer the question: Then why have not most JEws, the chosen peopel fo God, responded to the gospel? If they have missed out, how can Gentile Christians be so sure that nothing 'will be able to separate' them ('from the love of God in Christ Jesus' (Rom 8:39)? His answer is crystal clear: 'the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable' (Rom 11:29). There has always been a believing remnant, a true Israel within the larger, empirical Israel. Furthermore, at the eschaton (the end of the present world order), all empirical Israel will be saved (Rom 11:26). Thus God may indeed be trusted because his saving plan has never failed nor will it ever" (in Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period, 487).

I couldn't agree more.
Here's a little snippet of what RESOLVED 2010 was like.

Everything short of Hell is mercy!

(James Smith, "Good and Evil Alike from God" 1861)

"What? shall we receive good at the hands of God--and shall we not receive evil?" Job 2:10

Jehovah's Prerogative: He sends GOOD--all good. He sends EVIL--not moral evil, for God cannot be the author of sin, nor in any way give His sanction to it.

But He does send afflictions, bereavements, losses, crosses, pains and sorrows. He sends good and evil sometimes in quick succession. He sent the fish to preserve the life of Jonah, and the gourd to screen him from the sun--but He sent also the worm to destroy the gourd, and teach Jonah a beneficial lesson. Who can read the life of Jacob or Joseph, of David or Daniel, and not see that the Lord sends both good and evil upon His people. Hence the prophet asks, "Shall there be evil in a city--and the Lord has not done it?"

The Believer's Duty. We should receive all as from God's hand. The reference is not so much to the receiving--for we must receive it; but the manner of receiving--as from God. We often receive good as from God--but we do not so receive evil; yet both alike should be so received.

GOOD should be received with gratitude and praise, with humility and love--with a deep sense of our unworthiness, and God's unmerited goodness. Nor should we forget, that we are held responsible for the use of all the good things we receive from God.

EVIL should be received with patience and submission, saying with Eli, "It is the Lord--let Him do what seems good unto Him." There should be a recognition of His justice, as Aaron, when his two sons were slain--he held his peace. He was dumb, he opened not his mouth, because the Lord did it. There should also be confidence in His love, because the dispensations of His hand--never prove a change in His heart. He loves us as much when He sends evil--as when He sends good; for His love is not only everlasting--but unchangeable.

We should receive good and evil alike--as from a sovereign, wise, gracious, and holy God!

The Expostulation. "What? shall we receive good at the hands of God--and shall we not receive evil?" Are we to view good alone as coming from God? Are we not to look at evil--at our trials, troubles, and tribulations--as coming from Him?

Are we to forget His favors, lose sight of His paternal relationship, quarrel with His wisdom and love--and thus act the rebel and the ingrate? Alas! this is too often the case. One trouble swallows up the remembrance of many mercies. We think more of one loss--than we do of the gains of years; and we are more affected with one hour's pain and sickness--than we are with months of ease and health. But it would not be so--if we were properly affected with a due sense of our sinfulness, ingratitude, and unworthiness. Then in the midst of our good things, we would say with Jacob, "I am not worthy of the least of all Your mercies!" And in the midst of our evil things we would say with Job, "The Lord gave--and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord"

It is folly to lose sight of God's hand in our troubles. We should rather say, "This also comes forth from the Lord Almighty, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working."

Nor is it wise to complain of His dealings with us, for a sinner out of Hell--can never have any reason to complain. Everything short of Hell is mercy!

He assures us that all that He does, is in love. His word to us, when things are at the worst is, "As many as I love--I rebuke and chasten." Silence befits us, though to justify God would befit us more.

We should not make too much of the instruments by which we suffer. Joseph said unto his brethren, "It was not you--but God." David said of Shimei, "Let him curse--for the Lord has bidden him." The holiest of men have always looked more at God who uses the rod--than at the rod which He used. If He appoints it--it is wise. If He permits it--it is for our good. He does nothing, He permits nothing to be done, which affects His children--but they would do themselves--if they were as wise, as judicious, and as far-seeing as He is. Nor is there a doubt--but in eternity we shall bless and praise His holy name--for the very things that grieve and distress us now. Believer, receive everything, whether painful or pleasant--as from God's hand! And bless a taking God--as well as a giving God.

Lord, pardon our folly and forgive our sins, for we have been guilty of both in our conduct toward you; and help us in future if tempted to repine, or if rebellious feelings arise in our hearts to say, "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God--and shall we not receive evil also?"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Please pray for a man that I met on my bus this morning named Joe. I was reading a book on NT backgrounds and he struck up conversation with me. He is looking for a local church to attend. I gave him my card, was able to share with him the gospel and what we teach at Church.

Pray that God stirs his heart to attend church and hear God's Word proclaimed this week. I am preaching this Sunday on Deut 6.
I was talking with a fellow minister of the gospel yesterday over lunch and he said this which really affected me:

"We want to see done what only God can do."

Do you have a desire like this?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

CCC Let There Be Light from JP on Vimeo.

If you'd like to join us for this retreat, click here for the flyer.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

This week I'm teaching on the topic: what does the Bible have to say about marriage and divorce? I came across a very helpful quote that may help some people:

"If the unbeliever begins divorce proceedings, the Christian spouse is not to contest them. 'The brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases' (1 Cor 7:15). In God's sight, the bond between a husband and wife is dissolved ONLY by death (Rom 7:2), adultery (Matt 19:9), and an unbeliever's leaving (1 Cor 7:15). When the bond is broken in any of those ways, a Christian is free to remarry another Christian or stay single. Simply stated, when divorce is permitted, remarriage is permitted; when divorce is forbidden, remarriage is forbidden."
—John MacArthur, The Divorce Dilemma, 81.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You can livestream the Truth and Life Conference by clicking on the link here.

Here's the schedule:

Session I - Paul: An Example of Biblical LeadershipDr. John MacArthurWednesday January 19 - 7pm
Session II - Leading with LoveDr. Alexander StrauchThursday January 20 - 9am
Session III - Leading as a ServantDr. Voddie BauchamThursday January 20 - 7pm
Session IV - Leading as a Husband & FatherDr. Voddie BauchamFriday January 21 - 9am
Session V - Leading through ConflictDr. Alexander StrauchFriday January 21 - 7pm

Soli Deo Gloria!
Moses, the man of God, penned the magnificent words of Psalm 90 probably during the wilderness wanderings. This psalm—the oldest in the Psalter—unmistakably sets up a contrast between the everlasting nature of God and the temporal nature of man. Moses shows how sinners reap what they sow and how every single sin (iniquity and secret sins) are laid bare before the eyes of God.

Last night when I preached Psalm 90 I provided some applications to the doctrine of God's eternality so that the people would know how this doctrine should affect the way they live.

Psalm 90:2 — from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Psalm 90:2
וּֽמֵעֹולָ֥ם עַד־עֹ֝ולָ֗ם אַתָּ֥ה אֵֽל׃
Here are those applications.

1. Because God is eternal and everlasting we must remember that nothing is too big for Him; no problem is too great for him.

2. Be humble before God who created everything—time, space, matter, and everything that lives!

3. Let our knowledge of God’s eternity take off our love and confidence from this WORLD and it’s STUFF and fasten it on the eternal glory of GOD and His eternal satisfactions and delights!

4. Remember that heaven is a place where we will live forever (time will be there! Rev 22:2, 5).

5. God is unchanging and therefore dependable—he is the same now as he has always been in the past (Heb 13:8 – same yesterday, today, and forever).

6. In heaven, the enjoyment of God will be as fresh and glorious after many millions of ages than it was in the very first hour!

Isaiah 40:28 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.
Isaiah 40:28
הֲלֹ֨וא יָדַ֜עְתָּ אִם־לֹ֣א שָׁמַ֗עְתָּ אֱלֹהֵ֨י עֹולָ֤ם׀ יְהוָה֙ בֹּורֵא֙ קְצֹ֣ות הָאָ֔רֶץ לֹ֥א יִיעַ֖ף וְלֹ֣א יִיגָ֑ע אֵ֥ין חֵ֖קֶר לִתְבוּנָתֹֽו׃

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Only a life lived for God will be a truly satisfied life."

—Steven J. Lawson

Psalm 90:14 — 14 O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I love the reality that God is sovereign.

"Does everything that happens find itself in the will of God? Yes. . . . Augustine said that God ordains 'in some sense' everything that happens. Nothing that takes place is beyond the scope of his sovereign will. The movement of every molecule, the actions of every plant, the falling of every star, the choices of every volitional creature, all of these are subject to his sovereign will. No maverick molecules run loose in the universe, beyond the control of the Creator. If one such molecule existed, it could be the critical fly in the eternal ointment. . . . Indeed, one maverick molecule could destroy every promise God has ever made about the outcome of history" (Sproul, What is Reformed Theology, 172).

So mark it: God is absolutely sovereign.

Isaiah 46:9-11 9 "Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; 11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Last night I concluded our mid-week study through the book of Ephesians. We traversed through this book verse by verse (and even word by word at times!) to unpack the glorious riches contained in this letter.

Last night I focused on Eph 6:24 — “Grace to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love” (NIV).

I pleaded with my hearers to not be like the church at Ephesus who started out so well, but later lost their “first love” (Rev 2:4) and about a century after this they went out of existence (c. 200AD).

I encourage you to listen to the sermon here and download my handout (pdf) here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

This is not some fanciful statement, this is a promise from Jesus Christ for all of His followers:

2 Timothy 3:12 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

John 15:20 20 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

Hear the account of Church history under the reign of Nero, the vicious Roman Emperor:
". . . Mockery of every sort was added to their [the Christians] deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserve extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed" (Tacitus, Annals, xv.44).
Muse on this magnificent word today:
"The world dwarfs us all, but God dwarfs the world. The world is his footstool, above which he sits secure. He is greater than the world and all that is in it, so that all the feverish activity of its bustling millions does no more to affect him than the chirping and jumping of grasshoppers in the summer sun does to affect us. Behold your God!" (JI Packer, Knowing God, 87).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In the prayer that I read this morning from The Valley of Vision I was captured by the heartfelt sorrow and sincere lamentation of this man over his sin in his life. I encourage you to read his prayer of repentance.

Save me from myself,
from the artifices and deceits of sin,
from the treachery of my perverse nature,
from denying thy charge against my offences,
from a life of continual rebellion against thee,
from wrong principles, views, and ends;
for I know that all my thoughts, affections,
desires, and pursuits are alienated from thee. . . .
O, thou Father of my spirit,
thou King of my life,
cast me not into destruction,
drive me not from thy presence,
but would my heart that it may be healed;
break it that thine own hand may make it whole
—Anonymous Valley of Vision Prayer, p.38

This prayer reminds me of the old adage that the Puritans used to repeat: repent of your repentance. So often our repentance turn into pithy, sort of 'half-hearted' "sorry's" to God. And how much of a different picture is represented by this prayer of earnest confession of sin.

God used this to convict me this morning of my own sin and my own sin in heartless confession at times. May we learn from this and heartfully, sincerely, and seriously repent of all known sins in our lives.

Praise God for his grace.

Friday, January 7, 2011

From Justin Taylor:

Wesley J. Smith:

Pro-choicers say they want abortion to be safe, legal, and rare. But we will see whether major pro choice organizations react to the awful statistic that 39 percent of pregnancies in NYC result in induced abortion. From the story:

In 2009, there were 225,667 pregnancies in the City with 126,774 resulting in live births and 87,273 resulting in abortions.

This is copied and pasted from my sermon notes on a sermon from Ephesians 6:24 (ἡ χάρις μετὰ πάντων τῶν ἀγαπώντων τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ) on never abandoning the faith. I thought some may find it helpful.

i. God—God is a powerful God, eternally perfect, untainted by sin, and sovereignly just and righteous. He must do what is right.

ii. Man
—Man is radically and totally affected by sin in every way, shape, or form. Man is not perfect, is not righteous, and is not pleasing to God. Man is sinful in thought, word, deed, and motive. We often reject worshipping God for the worship of self.

iii. Jesus
—But God, justly deserving to POUR out his wrath on wicked sinners, chose to send His Son, Jesus—fully God and fully man—to this earth to live a perfect life which we could never do, and die a criminal’s death that we sinners deserved to die. And on that cross God flooded the eternal fury and violent wrath upon Jesus on the cross that should be poured out on sinners in hell.

iv. Faith—The only way sinners can be forgiven by God and have the punishment that we deserve pardoned in Christ is by means of faith in Jesus Christ and in his death in our place (substitution) and in his resurrection from the grave three days later showing his victory over sin and power over death and hell. It is by faith alone that we are saved—not by works.

v. Submission—After placing faith in Jesus Christ and being eternally saved and supernaturally justified (declared right with God and treated as a son), the only and inevitable result of salvation is declaring “Jesus is LORD” where He is master over the Christian’s life. This must result in a life of obedience, Lordship, submission, and suffering for Christ.
Romans 10:9 — 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (9 ὅτι ἐὰν ὁμολογήσῃς ἐν τῷ στόματί σου κύριον Ἰησοῦν καὶ πιστεύσῃς ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου ὅτι ὁ θεὸς αὐτὸν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν, σωθήσῃ·)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dear reader, if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ this post is for YOU. If you are a believer in Christ, this post also is for you as you are reminded that you and I deserve to be in hell. May it also spur us on to fervent and urgent evangelism.

In a few days--I may be in Hell!

"Are not my days few?" Job 10:20

You may be living as if you thought that your days would be many--living in sin and in folly, and neglecting your everlasting concerns! You may be planning and scheming--as if you were to live here forever, or were at least sure of many years to come. Years! why we are not sure of months, weeks, days, hours, nay minutes! At the best--our days will be few!

If my days are few, then time will soon end with me, eternity will soon open upon me--and I shall soon know what heaven--or hell, really is! How solemn!

In a few days--I may be in Heaven! I may see the Lamb in the midst of the throne. I may be joining with the triumphing multitude in the presence of God.

But in a few days--I may be in Hell! In hell? Yes, in Hell!
In unquenchable fire!
In everlasting burnings!
In unutterable torments!
The sport of devils.
The companion of damned souls.
Under the blighting, blasting, and withering curse of God.
Hell! Who can tell what Hell is? Who can describe its tortures, its horrors, its terrific scenes?

Are not my days few? Yes! Then I must soon be in Heaven--or Hell.

Reader, your days are few! They may be very few--much fewer than you have calculated on. Suppose they should end! Suppose the decree had gone forth from the eternal throne, "Tomorrow you shall die!" and you were to be informed of it by some angelic messenger who heard it pronounced--how would you feel? How? What would you do? Where would you be for eternity?

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!" Psalm 90:12

HT: James Smith, 1865

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dear Senior Pastor,

I've been very encouraged by the example of the senior pastor I work for, plus many other senior pastors. So I want to ask you some questions to make you consider if you are modeling humility for your staff, church members, family, etc....

  • Are you willing and open to learning about the Bible from staff or members who don't have as much preaching or theological training as you do?
  • Are you willing to take constructive criticism from staff members, interns, church members, or your wife? (If you are not sure, ask them if they think you are open to constructive critique.)
  • In a deacon or elder or committee meeting (or whatever form of leadership you have), are you willing to be voted down by others? Do you hold a grudge against those who would dare vote against you?
  • Have you ever considered asking your kids (or your wife) how you are doing at parenting?
  • In a deacon or elder or committee meeting (or whatever form of leadership you have), do you always speak early so that everyone follows your direction? Or do you hold your words until the end of your discussions so that other leaders can think through the issues without being quickly swayed by your opinions?
  • Have you thought about cultivating humility in your life? If not, consider reading this in 2011.
  • Have you thought about cultivating humility in your staff and in your church? What would it mean for your staff to be open to given and receiving godly criticism?
HT: Deepak Reju
One of the orthodox doctrines we cherish is that of the virgin birth of Jesus. Certainly this doctrine protects the deity of Christ in that He was not born of natural/human descent so as to inherit the sinful human nature from Adam (cf. Rom 5:12). But, one aspect of the virgin birth that I also appreciate is the reality that, by virtue of his birth into this world, Jesus can relate to us as humans. There is that idea in the Scriptures of the Savior being not only our Redeemer but also our Kinsman Redeemer. He is one of us. He can relate to us. He has been tempted in all ways just as we have.

I find great comfort in this reality that Jesus was born of a virgin which allowed him to be wholly without sin in every way, shape, or form and, at the same time, he is able to relate to us because He lived life as one of us—yet without sin.
Hebrews 2:14-18 — 14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Said so beautifully by Bruce Demarest:

"The doctrine of justification by faith proves to be the focal point of other salvific doctrines. The backdrop against which justification is set is humanity in its fallen condition—guilty, condemned, and alienated from God. The ground of justification is the death of Christ on the cross as he took the sinner's place, bore his guilt, and suffered the just penalty for sins. The implementation of justification focuses on the application of Christ's atoning provisions to chosen and specially loved sinners. The outcome of justification is the sanctification and final preservation of those God has made right with himself. And the completion of justification will occur when the just of all ages are raised in transformed bodies to experience heaven's eternal joys."

Source: Bruce Demarest, The Cross & Salvation (Wheaton, IL: Crossway), 346.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Excellent words by John Calvin on prayer compiled by RC Sproul:

For John Calvin, prayer was like a priceless treasure that God has offered to His people.

Calvin’s first rule of prayer was to enter into it with a full awareness of the One to whom we are speaking. The key to prayer is a spirit of reverence and adoration: “Let the first rule of right prayer be, to have our heart and mind framed as becomes those who are entering into converse with God.”

Calvin wrote of how easy it is for our minds to wander in prayer. We become inattentive, as if we were speaking to someone with whom we are easily bored. This insults the glory of God: “Let us know, then, that none duly prepare themselves [sic] for prayer but those who are so impressed with the majesty of God that they engage in it free from all earthly cares and affections.”

Calvin’s second rule of prayer was that we ask only for those things that God permits. Prayer can be an exercise in blasphemy if we entreat His blessing for our sinful desires: “I lately observed, men in prayer give greater license to their unlawful desires than if they were telling jocular tales among their equals.”

Coram Deo: How does your personal prayer life line up with these two rules? Is your heart and mind framed as becomes those who are entering into conversation with God? Do you ask only for those things God permits?

Psalm 109:4: “I give myself to prayer.”

1 Corinthians 7:5: “Give yourselves to fasting and prayer.”

Ephesians 6:18: “[Pray] always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

HT: Ligonier
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