The House of Mourning

November 25, 2008

It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.

Ecclesiastes 7:2

Today is my birthday, I turned 26 at noon.  I also attended a funeral today, an elderly woman who past away last week on Monday.

And as I ponder this life, and all the happiness and tears it brings, all the striving, all the rejoicing, how amazing is the grace that has been poured out in my life through the blood of Jesus Christ – how amazing His love for me, for the whole world, to come and live, and die, so that we might have life.  This world is full of trouble, but our Master has overcome this world – we have hope, because He lives today, we have joy unspeakable, because He rose from the grave on the third day.

How blessed it is to serve the risen Lord.  May we be found faithful when He returns.  Amen.

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Prayer and the Study of God’s Word

November 21, 2008
Do we pray enough?

Do we pray enough?

How often do you pray?  How often do you pray as you study the Word of God?  How much time do you spend in prayer as you prepare a lesson or message?  I fear we spend much too little time seeking to be taught and instructed by the Spirit of the One who inspired the very words we seek to teach others.  May God grant us eyes to see our dependence on Him, and may we be found on our knees praying, showing our dependence on God.

“For a man solemnly to undertake the interpretation of any portion of Scripture without invocation of God, to be taught and instructed by his Spirit, is a high provocation of him; nor shall I expect the discovery of truth from any one, who thus proudly engages in a work so much above his ability.”[1]


[1] John Owen, A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Philadelphia: Tower & Hogan, 1827), 371.


Are You a Lone Wolf?

November 20, 2008

lonewolf-webOne of my professors always says: “A lone wolf is a dead wolf.”

And yet it is interesting how so many of us, as Christians, and even more so as leaders and pastors in the church tend to be lone wolves.

We don’t belong to a denomination because we don’t want someone telling us what to do – we’re “independent _put_your_denomination_here_”
Where did the idea come from that there is such a thing as a lone wolf anyway?  Everyone knows they hunt in packs.  They never leave the pack by choice.
As Christians we need to be on guard, lest we separate ourselves to such a degree that our spiritual lives are in danger of death.
If you are a Christian you are the Church, but remember – the Church has many members, and they are designed to work together to the glory of Christ.

“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-18)


Why the Word “Limited Atonement” is Not Cool

November 14, 2008
oldruggedcross

Thinking of the cross...

Just some musings as I think through Christ’s perfect sacrifice…

The word “limited” is probably the most abused term in regards to the atonement of Christ than any other.  It really is an oversimplification.

While it is true that certain aspects of the atonement are definitly limited to certain objects, the death of Christ cannot be limited to any one particular group because there are definite universal aspects of the sacrifice of Christ in Scripture (Col. 1:20; Rom 8:23; 1 John 2:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; John 1:29).

You see, God did not only absolutely decree a definite purpose in Christ’s death for the elect (Eph. 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20-21; Rev. 13:8), but also a definite purpose for the non-elect as well.  The value of Christ’s sacrifice is infinite, but the extent is definite.  The extent is definite both for believers and non-believers.  If the extent is not definite we then in turn must accuse God of ignorance.  There is nothing wasted, or something that is not applied in the way it was intended in the sacrifice of Christ.  God decreed exactly what the results of Christ’s dead and resurrection would be.

So the real issue is not so much about limited verses universal as it is about definite verses indefinite.  Either the perfect sacrifice of Jesus is definite in all aspects (meaning nothing is wasted or frustrated by the unbeliever) or it is indefinite and therefore the same in all aspects at all times to all men.

In fact, even the term “atonement” has problems because the word’s usage in the Old Testament refers to “covering” for sin and is often confused with the un-Biblical concept of “at-one-ment” (Mormons teach this).  It is probably better to use terms such as “perfect sacrifice,” “work,” or “accomplishment.”

Thinking over what Christ did on the cross…it is so amazing to think about what He did.  I want to pursue this knowledge so that I can better know what it meant for Him to come and die, and therefore better worship Him, to be in awe of His amazing grace, and love – to think that such a great sinner as I can come to Him, plead for mercy, and receive grace.  We serve a wonderful risen Savior.

More musings to come…

In fact if you read this article by Dr. William Barrick on “THE EXTENT OF THE PERFECT SACRIFICE OF CHRIST” you would be very blessed – most of what I am writing is just a re-hash of what he wrote, as I try to understand the implications.


How can we be assured of our salvation?

November 14, 2008

Some helpful thoughts from Jonathan Edwards:

“It is not God’s design that men should obtain assurance in any other way,
than by mortifying corruption, and increasing in grace, and obtaining the lively exercises of it.—And although self-examination be a duty of great use and importance, and by no means to be neglected; yet it is not the principal means, by which the saints do get satisfaction of their good estate. Assurance is not to be obtained so much by self-examination, as by action. The Apostle Paul sought assurance chiefly this way, even by “forgetting the things that were behind, and reaching forth unto those things that were before, pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus; if by any means he might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” And it was by this means chiefly that he obtained assurance: 1 Cor. 9:26, “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly.” He obtained assurance of winning the prize, more by running, than by considering.”

Key thought: “Assurance is not to be obtained so much by self-examination, as by action.”


Holes in the Atheistic Worldview

November 12, 2008

rightandwrong-webAs I was reading up on the passage of Proposition 8 in California, I came across some interesting statements made by those who are actively against the proposition.  Jennifer Pizer, a staff lawyer for Lambda Legal (the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization working for the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV/AIDS), said: “We think it is early to go into federal court and ask federal courts to say we have a federal right to marry.” (1)

Why?  Because they would lose.  There are lawsuits currently in California courts saying that Proposition 8 was passed unlawfully and,  “Other lawsuits could follow, but gay rights groups have called on supporters not to file cases in federal court. They fear that a loss at the U.S. Supreme Court could set back the marriage movement decades.” (2)

Now, here’s the hole in their system.  In order for there to be right and wrong, there has to be some standard of right and wrong.  If do you not believe that God is the standard (obviously if you think homosexuality is a good, and right thing, you do not believe God is the standard, because His Word is clear that homosexuality is sin – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:8-11), and therefore, for Atheist, “Morality is defined as the principles of ethical behavior given by society, culture, family, and religion.” (3)

But here’s the problem – society just spoke, and said it is wrong to say that marriage is between two people of the same sex, but rather is only between one man and one woman.  Therefore, under their own standard of morals, they must submit to what society has said it right.  But no, they, being a minority rebel, and fight – and therefore by their own standards are immoral.

I hope you’ve drawn lines into other problems with an Atheistic worldview – because if moral standards come from society, that means at one time, slavery in America was actually a good thing!  And that the ban on intermarriage between whites and blacks was actually morally right until the majority said it was wrong.  But they would not say such a thing – and therefore have a gaping hole in their world view.

And if, you, as an Atheist hold to morals from the “fact” that, “happiness and suffering of other human beings matter to us such that we should seek, whenever possible, to increase their happiness and decrease their suffering.” (4) then you also have a problem.  For in the situation of a masochist, who actually enjoys giving pain to others, you have a dilemma, for you will have to choose who will be unhappy – either the masochist, or the victim.  I assume you would choose to free the victim – but why?  You have a hole in your system as well.

Morals only make sense if the God of the Bible exists.

and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:32)


Self-Discipline

November 11, 2008

I thought this quote was funny, and yet somehow poignant (taken from Power in the Pulpit by Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddix):

“John Stott tells the story of a young preacher who did not study as he should.  He frequently bragged to his deacons that his messages were prepared between the time he left the parsonage in the morning and the time he arrived at the door of the church.  No wonder his deacons decided to buy him a new home five miles away!”