Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hatred of Christ

He who hates Me hates My Father also.
...but now they have both seen and hated
Me and My Father as well.  But they have
done this to fulfill the word that was written
in their Law, "They hated Me without a cause."
John 15:23-25

Nowhere is the awful depravity of fallen man
more evidenced than in his hatred of that which
is pure, lovely, good, and holy.
A. W. Pink

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Our Focus for Daily Living

Is Christ the focus of your faith, not just
 for salvation, but for daily living as well.?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Being Justified

We can never be more justified
than what we have been declared
to be by God.  There is nothing we
can do to make ourselves more justified
in His sight, nothing we can do to add
to our justification. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Being Fulfilled

Our spiritual lives will not be fulfilling
unless we are consistently overcoming sin.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Gospel and Sanctification

A clear understanding and appropriation of
the gospel, which give freedom from sin's
guilt and sins grip, is, in the hands of  the
Holy Spirit, a chief means of sanctification.

Jerry Bridges
The Discipline of Grace
Page 110

Friday, August 19, 2011

Making a Disciple

Training up a disciple is imparting--molding--developing.
It has to do with character, knowledge, attitude, desires,
.....a way of thinking and viewing life.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Speaking the Gospel

For our people to be able to speak
the gospel, they must know the gospel;
and to really know the gospel, they must
consistently hear the gospel.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Emphasis in Church Planting

Jesus did not command His church to go plant churches--
even biblically sound ones; He commanded us to make
disciples and teach them to observe all that He has
commanded.  Certainly, planting churches is a natural
part of the process, but the emphasis is on  making
disciples and teaching them.

David Sills
Reaching and Teaching
Page 149

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Contextualization or Marketing?

Some people mistaknely believe that contextualization means changing aspects of Christianity to make it look like the culture, but contextualization is simply the process of making the gospel understood.  To ensure that our hearers understand the gospel, we must use their language rather than our own, if ours is nonsense to them.  However, this does not mean that mimicking the profane vocabulary or lifestyles of the unchurched is an appropriate use of contextualization.  The only reason to communicate in this way would be if the local culture communicated so much in this manner that no message would make sense otherwise.  Television programs without such inapproprate language would require subtitles for them so people could understand the message.  Of course, there is no culture where this is the case.  In fact, much of what many call contextualization is simply an effort to be trendy and edgy.  It may be effective, it may even attract a hearing among a certain demographic, and it may not be offensive to all hearers, but that is not contextualizing the gospel; that it marketing.

David Sills
Reaching and Teaching
Page 195

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Thought on Prayer

What is prevalent in our thinking,
will be prevalent in our praying.

Matthew 6:25-34

Saturday, August 13, 2011

No Joy in that Day

In the book of Revelation, the word joy never occurs.  However, the word wrath is used eleven times.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Heart of Lostness

What we must constantly remember is that this human inability to understand spiritual things is a culpable inability.  It is not that God makes us constitutionally unable to understand Him, and then toys with us for His own amusement. Rather, He has made us for Himself, but we have run from Him.  The heart of our lostness is our profound self-focus.  We do not want to know Him, if knowing Him is on His terms.  We are happy to have a God we can more or less manipulate; we do not want a God to whom we admit that we are rebels in heart and mind, that we do not deserve His favor, and that our only hope is in His pardoning and transforming grace.  We certainly cannot fathom a powerful Creator who takes the place of an odious criminal in order to save us from the judgment we deserve.

Don Carson
The Cross and Christian Ministry
Page 58

Monday, August 08, 2011

Presenting the Gospel

In presenting the gospel, if we leave out all that
 God has done in effecting and securing our
  salvation, then salvation becomes a work of
  man--something man does on his own.
(Thus a man-centered gospel)

Saving faith is not having confidence and
dependence on something we have done as
if something we do is the genesis of salvation;
but saving faith is an active acquiescing to, and an
 active acceptance of, what God has done in Christ.

So when presenting the gospel we must present
what God has done, what God has accomplished,
as the object of faith.  The object of saving faith is
not what we can do, but is what God has wrought
(brought to completion) in Christ.
(Thus a God-centered gospel)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Understanding the Cross

"We cannot get a glimmering of an understanding
of what the New Testament understands by
Christ's atoning work unless we see that God
is hostile to every evil thing and every evil person."

Leon Morris
The Atonement
Its Meaning and Significance
Page 138

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Peace and Unity

This is another repost.

As believers we are to "Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts," (Colossians 3:15). So often we see this verse either ignored or misapplied, and it is because of a misunderstanding or a false assumption of what this peace is. So let's see if we can garner a better, a correct understanding of what the peace of Christ is and how it is manifested in our lives.

First off, this verse is in the middle of a section where Paul is talking about our common ground in Christ because He is all and is in all (3:11), and how this is manifested in our life in the church in how we treat and respond to one another in the body. So its primary application is for believers in the context of church life. So this peace of Christ is to rule, act as arbiter or umpire, in our dealings and interactions with other believers, especially those in our local body.

Secondly, what is this peace that Christ has, that is to be the umpire of our hearts, and how did we come to possess it? In John 14:27 Christ says, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you." So we see that it is Christ, Himself, that has given us His peace, and we have this peace because He has come and taken up residence in our heart; and we have become partakers of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4). The peace of Christ is the peace between Him and the Father. There was no enmity between the Father and the Son because Jesus always did the things that were pleasing to the Father (John 4:34, 5:30, 8:28-29, 8:42, 12:49, 14:10, 17:4, Matthew 3:17). Because of His perfect obedience to the Father there was unity and harmony between them with peace being the by-product of that unity and harmony. Christ had the same unity and harmony with the Father in His life here upon the earth that He had with the Father in eternity past. This is why Jesus could say, "I and the Father are One." (John 10:30, 17:11, 22-23). The body of Christ is to have and manifest the same unity and harmony within itself that exists between Christ and the Father (John 17:20-23).

Before salvation we were at enmity with God, we were His very enemies (Romans 5:10), but God reconciled us to Himself through His Son (Romans 5:10, II Corinthians 5:18-19). The Father and the Son were at perfect peace, so that, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:29). So when we let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts it means that we are not to do anything that would disrupt our peace with our heavenly Father. Our peace with Him should guide our decision making and govern our responses. Within the context of this section of Colossians we see this worked out in our compassion, gentleness, kindness, humility, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, and love within the body of Christ. We have peace with God and one another as we practice these Christian graces mentioned here; and it should then be a part of our life so that, "As far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." (Romans 12:18).

However, this peace, the peace of Christ, is not a peace at the expense of righteousness, or peace at the expense of the truth. It does not compromise righteousness or truth, but instead it is a peace at the expense of the self, at the expense of personal "rights", at the expense of personal desires, at the expense of personal comfort. It is a peace at the expense of personal ambitions, personal glory, at the expense of personal achievements, or personal recognition. It is peace because we have given up ourselves, and is part of taking up our cross daily and following after (living in like manner) Him, who gave Himself up.

So, first, be sure that you are at peace with God through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Then pray a prayer of thanksgiving to God for establishing peace with you, His enemy, and reconciling you to Himself through the blood of the cross. Now live a life of peace with God through how you live your life with others in the body, and in the world; but not at the expense of righteousness or the truth.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Love and Unity

This is a repost.

Biblical love is far deeper than a love dependent merely on feelings and emotions. Rather, it is a love that flows from the very soul and character of the individual. It comes from the person's decision to love, not from his feelings. In fact, many times the decision to love will run contrary to the feelings one possesses. Biblical love is the love of God that has been poured out into the heart, and then given from that heart to others.

This kind of love is the basis of unity as true unity does not come from a denial of differences, but from a forebearing with one another in spite of the differences. It is the love that gives, that covers, that bears, that endures, that believes. This is the love that overwhelmingly conquers. This love then enables us to be united one with another; not due to a common cause, but because of a common love.

Ephesians 4:1-3
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk
in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, showing forebearance to one another
in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Doing Church

When how we do church is culturally determined
rather than biblically prescribed, we will tend to
depend on the rightness of our methodology
instead of the righteousness of our lives.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011