Monday, August 23, 2010

The Gospel, God's Power

Far too frequently the conception entertained of conversion
is so superficial and beggarly that it completely fails to take
account of the momentous change of which conversion is the fruit.
And the whole notion of what is involved in the application of redemption becomes
  so attenuated that is has little or no resemblanceto that which the gospel teaches. 
Regeneration is at the basis of all change in heart and life. 
It is a stupendous change because it is God's recreative act.
A cheap and tawdry evangelism has tended to rob the gospel
which it proclaims of that invincible power
which is the glory of the gospel of sovereign grace.
May the church come to think and live again in terms
of the gospel which is the power of God.

John Murray
Redemption Accomplished and Applied
Page 105

Much of what is being preached in the Church today
is no longer even Gospel Lite, but Gospel Drivel.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Repentance and Faith

Now after John had been taken into custody,
Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,
and saying "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom
of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
Mark 1:14-15

Saving faith is a repentant faith.
True repentance repents in faith.
Repentance has faith as its foundation.
Faith has repentance as its motivation.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Changed and Changing

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;
the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
II Corinthians 5:17

 By God's grace I am not the person I used to be.
By His grace I am not the person I am yet to be.

Therefore we do not lose heart,
but though our outer man is decaying,
yet our innerman is being renewed day by day.
II Corinthians 4:16

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Beauty of Holiness

One thing I have asked from the Lord that I shall seek;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.
Psalm 27:4

What makes Christ so beautiful when His appearance was not such that we should be attracted to Him?  It is the beauty of His holiness, the perfections of His character.  It is His heavenly perfections on display as the glory of God is revealed through Him.  As we meditate on the person of Christ, we see more deeply and more clearly the beauty of His holiness and the sublimeness of His perfections.

Father, let us leave farther and farther behind the ugliness and reproaches of our sin as we are continually being transformed into His image, more and more.  May His beauty and His perfections become ours until the day when we shall be as He is.  Amen.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Understanding, Appreciation, Joy, and Adoration

For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:6
Italics Mine

The more completely we understand our salvation, the deeper will be our appreciation; and the deeper our appreciation, the fuller our joy; and the fuller our joy, the greater our praise and adoration of our great God and Savior.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Christianity at its Best

"...Christianity has been at its best--
when the gospel of God's grace is held high."

David Calhoun
The Banner of Truth
Aug/Sep 2010
Page 33

Saturday, August 14, 2010

In the Church

Apart from such external things,
there is the daily pressure on me
of concern for all the churches.
Who is weak without my being weak?
Who is led into sin without my intense concern?
II Corinthians 11:28-29

Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

For I long to see you so that I may impart
some spiritual gift to you, that you may be strengthened;
that is, that I may be encouraged together with you
while among you, each of us by the other's faith,
both yours and mine.
Romans 1:11-12

In the church we are all weakened by the weaknesses of others, and we are all strengthened by the strength of others.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Redundant Terminology

I don't know why many continue to try to find other ways to call themselves Chrisitians.  Maybe it is because they are afraid of offending the non-Christian, and need a softer term.  Maybe they think that the
non-Christian won't have his/her guard up in response to this new term and somehow the resistance to the gospel will be less.  Maybe they are trying to make themselve distinct from all those hypocrites who call themselves Christians, but don't act like one.  Maybe they are trying to make some distinction between themselves and the nominal or run of the mill Christian.  Or maybe they have heard others use the term and started using it because that is what everyone else is doing.

Among the monikers I have heard professing Chrisitans call themselves there are two that are absolutley redundant and make me think to myself, "Are you thinking through what this term means?"  The two are Born Again Christian, and Christ Follower

Although  the term Born Again Christian is not in vogue anymore, it still seems to crop up.  Think about it, can one be a Chrisitan without being born again?  No, never, no way-no how.  Jesus, Himself, was pretty adamant about this in the third chapter of John, and John in his first epistle uses the term born of God and children of God to describe those who exhibit the traits of true Christians and possess saving faith.  You must be born again (regenerated) according to Jesus in  John 3:3 & 7, made alive according to Paul in I Corinthians 15:22, Ephesians 2:5, Colossians 2:13, and Peter even weighs in on it in I Peter 1:3 & 23.  So between Jesus, John, Peter, and Paul we have pretty conclusive testimony that one cannot be a Christian without being born again.  So the term Born Again Christian is really an absurd redundancy.

Now, let's take the term Christ Follower as is seems to be the dominant term du jour.  Can anyone be a Christian without following Christ?  Again, the answer is a resounding no!  What was the term Jesus used 21 times in the gospels in calling people to be His disciples?  You guessed it, it was, "Follow Me."  Lets look at some of contexts in which He used this term.

Matthew 8:22 "...Follow Me and allow the dead to bury their own dead."
Matthew 10:38 "...he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me."
Matthew 16:24 "...If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and he must take up his cross and follow Me."
Matthew 19:21"...If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me."
John 10:27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
John 12:26 "If anyone serves Me he must follow Me..."

So following Christ is only done by Christians, His sheep.  One simply will not follow Christ if he/she is not a Christian.  In fact, in John 6:66 we see that many withdrew and were not following Him anymore when He explained the covenant committment required to be His disciple/follower.  Also, since the term Christian means little Christ it would follow (no pun intended) that those who follow Him would be called Christians, or little Christs.  Don't Bhuddists follow Bhudda, and Muslims follow Mohammed?  Do they have to say, "I am a Bhudda follower." or "I am a Mohammed follower." for us to get the picture, or is it just enough for them to call themselves Bhuddists or Muslims?  Get the picture?  Why do Christians have to make themselves look so silly by being so redundant?  It almost conveys the idea that either we are not sure what being called Christian means, or that we are ashamed of the name Christian.

Have you been born again, made alive in the spirit, experienced the new birth?  If you have then you are a Christian, pure and simple.  Do you follow Christ, listen to and obey His word, try to live as He would live?  If so then you are a Christian, pure and simple.  Why call ourselves anything less, or obscure what we really are by being redundant?

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Eternal Perspective

Do not let the temporal rob you of the eternal, either of eternal salvation or eternal rewards.  For the temporal always blinds us to the eternal as it tempts us to trade eternal blessings for passing pleasures.