Sunday, June 28, 2009
- A.W. PINK
from FB friend RM.
– Michael Horton
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
so that if He gives grace to one He is bound to do so to all. It teaches that the blood of Christ was shed equally for all men and since some are lost, this doctrine ascribes the difference to man... Read More’s own will, thus making the atonement itself a powerless thing until the will of man gives it efficacy. Those sentiments dilute the scriptural description of man’s depravity, and by imputing strength to fallen humanity, rob the Spirit of the glory of His effectual grace: this theory says in effect that it is of him that willeth, and of him that runneth, and not of God that showeth mercy." - C. H. Spurgeon
courtesy: Ryan Miley
offscouring of all things, - the inviting others unto fellowship with them, and a participation of the precious things which they did enjoy, seems to be exposed to many contrary reasonings and objections: "What benefit is there in communion with them? Is it any thing else but to be sharers in troubles, reproaches, scorns, and all manner of evils?"
To prevent or remove these and the like exceptions, the apostle gives them to whom he wrote to know (and that with some earnestness of expression), that notwithstanding all the disadvantages their fellowship lay under, unto a carnal view, yet in truth it was, and would be found to be (in reference to some with whom they held it), very honourable, glorious, and desirable. For "truly," saith he, "our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
John Owen. Communion with God. page 1
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
To pray continually is to lift up our hearts to God and to pray in our thoughts.... though we open not our lips.
God is readier to give, than we to ask. Therefore let us pray that our neglect of prayer may be forgiven
---Henry Smith "The benefit of contentation."
Luther recovered the gospel, and thereby instituted a truly evangelical revival, when he broke free from the Medieval-Scholastic Nature/Grace metaphysical scheme. In his significant breakthrough insight, faith was no longer understood by him as a natural preparation for grace, as the fulfillment of a condition for receiving supernatural grace by the performance of something that was within man's natural capacity to do. The soteriological scheme of Scholastic theology was synergistic, because Pelagian: God responded to man; man cooperated with God according to his native ability.
Against this Pelagian synergism, Luther insisted on total inability: the utter incapacitation and absolute impotence of the natural man in abject bondage to sin. Faith therefore could not be a condition for grace, for it could not be exercised out of inherently human resources as a natural act performed of sinful man's own initiative for the purpose of man's fitting and preparing himself to be a suitable candidate for receiving grace. Faith itself could only be the result of a prevening supernatural act; it was a free gift of divine grace, resulting entirely from God's unconditioned, monergistic action.
Justification thus was not obtained because of faith, merely through faith—a faith wrought in us. Rather than a cooperation of Nature and Grace (the synergism of mutual effort by both God and man), God acts unilaterally and exclusively, taking the sole initiative in a free act of sovereign grace—grace that is altogether prior to, and productive of, justifying faith. The sola fide arises out of, and is nothing other than, sola gratia.
- Joseph P. Braswell
Monday, June 22, 2009
Confession is a living testimony for Christ, in a time when religion suffers. Profession may be only a lifeless formality, in a time when religion prospers. To confess Christ, is to choose his ways, and own them. To profess Christ, is to plead for his ways—and yet not live in them. Profession may be from a feigned love to the ways of Christ; but confession is from a rooted love to the person of Christ.
To profess Christ, is to own him when none deny him; to confess Christ, is to plead for him, and suffer for him, when others oppose him. Hypocrites may be professors; but the martyrs are the true confessors. Profession is a swimming down the stream. Confession is a swimming against the stream. Now many may swim with the stream, like the dead fish—which cannot swim against the stream, with the living fish. Many may profess Christ, who cannot confess Christ; but in the end, notwithstanding their profession, such as those will be found to be not true Christians.”
- Matthew Meade
-Martin Luther, on Monergism, from his small catechism
–Thomas Brooks, Heaven on Earth, in The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Ed. Alexander B. Grosart (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1866), 2:320.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
- William Webster
- Martin Luther (Theses 92-95)
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.” (1 John 5:1)
“The combination of present tense (believes) and perfect tense [has been born] is important. It shows clearly that believing is the consequence, not the cause, of the new birth. Our present, continuing activity of believing is the result, and therefore, the evidence, of our past experience of the new birth by which we became and remain God’s children.”
- John Stott, The Letters of John
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Discerning Idolatry in Desire12 Ways to Recognize the Rise of Covetousness
Most of us realize that enjoying anything other than God, from the best gift to the basest pleasure, can become idolatry. Paul says in Colossians 3:5, “Covetousness is idolatry.”
“Covetousness” means desiring something other than God in the wrong way. But what does that mean—“in the wrong way”?
The reason this matters is both vertical and horizontal. Idolatry will destroy our relationship with God. And it will destroy our relationships with people.
All human relational problems—from marriage and family to friendship to neighbors to classmates to colleagues—all of them are rooted in various forms of idolatry, that is, wanting things other than God in wrong ways.
So here is my effort to think biblically about what those wrong ways are. What makes an enjoyment idolatrous? What turns a desire into covetousness, which is idolatry?
- Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it is forbidden by God. For example, adultery and fornication and stealing and lying are forbidden by God. Some people at some times feel that these are pleasurable, or else we would not do them. No one sins out of duty. But such pleasure is a sign of idolatry.
- Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it is disproportionate to the worth of what is desired. Great desire for non-great things is a sign that we are beginning to make those things idols.
- Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it is not permeated with gratitude. When our enjoyment of something tends to make us not think of God, it is moving toward idolatry. But if the enjoyment gives rise to the feeling of gratefulness to God, we are being protected from idolatry. The grateful feeling that we don’t deserve this gift or this enjoyment, but have it freely from God’s grace, is evidence that idolatry is being checked.
- Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it does not see in God’s gift that God himself is more to be desired than the gift. If the gift is not awakening a sense that God, the Giver, is better than the gift, it is becoming an idol.
- Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it is starting to feel like a right, and our delight is becoming a demand. It may be that the delight is right. It may be that another person ought to give you this delight. It may be right to tell them this. But when all this rises to the level of angry demands, idolatry is rising.
- Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it draws us away from our duties. When we find ourselves spending time pursuing an enjoyment, knowing that other things, or people, should be getting our attention, we are moving into idolatry.
- Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it awakens a sense of pride that we can experience this delight while others can’t. This is especially true of delights in religious things, like prayer and Bible reading and ministry. It is wonderful to enjoy holy things. It idolatrous to feel proud that we can.
- Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it is oblivious or callous to the needs and desires of others. Holy enjoyment is aware of others’ needs and may temporarily leave a good pleasure to help another person have it. One might leave private prayer to be the answer to someone else’s.
- Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it does not desire that Christ be magnified as supremely desirable through the enjoyment. Enjoying anything but Christ (like his good gifts) runs the inevitable risk of magnifying the gift over the Giver. One evidence that idolatry is not happening is the earnest desire that this not happen.
- Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when it is not working a deeper capacity for holy delight. We are sinners still. It is idolatrous to be content with sin. So we desire transformation. Some enjoyments shrink our capacities of holy joy. Others enlarge them. Some go either way, depending on how we think about them. When we don’t care if an enjoyment is making us more holy, we are moving into idolatry.
- Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when its loss ruins our trust in the goodness of God. There can be sorrow at loss without being idolatrous. But when the sorrow threatens our confidence in God, it signals that the thing lost was becoming an idol.
- Enjoyment is becoming idolatrous when its loss paralyzes us emotionally so that we can’t relate lovingly to other people. This is the horizontal effect of losing confidence in God. Again: Great sorrow is no sure sign of idolatry. Jesus had great sorrow. But when desire is denied, and the effect is the emotional inability to do what God calls us to do, the warning signs of idolatry are flashing.
For myself and for you, I pray the admonition of 1 John 5:21, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”
© Desiring God
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
To believe one possesses some volitional will to assent to the truth of the Scriptures despite their clear teachings is to assume one can believe without any initiative by God, that is, one is performing a work to save oneself. But the Scriptures are clear, in that the unsaved:
* is deceitful and desperately sick (Jer. 17:9).
* is full of evil (Mark 7:21-23).
* loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19).
* is unrighteous, does not understand, does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12).
* is helpless and ungodly (Rom. 5:6).
* is dead in his trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1).
* is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3).
* cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14).
* is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:16-20).
We are not “born again” as a result of something we have done, but solely on the basis of God’s sovereign will and power.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
God doesn't need my help.
Do not be so fretful in laboring to "make a difference, be heard, and be validated" whether among the lost or among the sheep. Such fretting makes an idol of your labor and your impact; Rather be focused on loving God, trusting God, praising God, seeking God, knowing God, and honoring God in the prizing of Jesus: the Prophet, Priest, King, Messiah, Savior, Lord, and Risen Lamb;
In these things it will be impossible for you to be silent before mankind, just as children shout upon seeing newly revealed candy. Thus others will certainly hear of your thankfulness to God in Jesus, by the sheer fact you are amazed with Christ; Their response to your heaven-ward gaze and heaven-ward joy is irrelevant and never a basis for that joy itself. (Just as the kids joy is always for the candy, not the reactions of the adults in the room who may ignore that candy and shout itself).
Yes you will rejoice if souls are drawn to Christ, but you will also rejoice when Christ is victorious and vindicated over His foes. David gloried over Goliath, and John presents a greater glory in Revelation.
When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. 11Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. [Ps 27:10-11]
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
"...and that his business is to submit himself to God, and cry aloud, 'Lord, save, or we perish.' We hold that man is never so near grace as when he begins to feel he can do nothing at all. When he says, 'I can pray, I can believe, I can do this, and I can do the other,' marks of self-sufficiency and arrogance are on his brow." - C. H. Spurgeon
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Elvis is dead, Picasso is dead
Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin are dead
Marilyn Monroe is dead- however…
Jesus is Alive
Brando is dead, James Brown is dead
Princess Di and John Lennon are dead
Biggie and Pac are dead- however
Jesus is Alive
Give praise to King Jesus, the blessed Son
Victorious, glorious resurrected One
To Him belongs the power, glory and honor
Ascended where He sits at the right hand of the Father
At the cross He made atonement- His people He saved
After three days He was raised in defeat of the grave
By faith the elect behold Him, His scepter is golden
He must have been hot or slippery because death couldn’t hold Him
The spotlight is on today’s icons
In a thousand years, nobody will care- their light’s gone
But at that time, Christ will still shine bright
He’s not in the limelight- He IS the limelight
Criminal minded, you’ve been blinded
Looking for the body of Jesus? You won’t find it
We never lack spirit, letting you cats hear it
Because His tomb is empty like most secular rap lyrics
Plato is dead, Socrates is dead
Aristotle and Immanuel Kant are dead
Neitzsche and Darwin are dead- however
Jesus is Alive
Buddha is dead, Mohammed is dead
Ghandi and Haile Selassie are dead
Elijah Mohammed is dead- however
Jesus is Alive
Throughout history there’s been mad religious leaders
Prophets, preachers, scholars, teachers
But when it came to the grave, no one could climb out
That’s where Jesus stands alone like taking a ‘timeout’
And don’t be mislead- I got a level head
No resurrection, Christianity would have never spread
The disciples weren’t stupid guys who would ruin their lives
And then choose to die for what they knew was a lie
That would be beyond ridiculous- Nah, the issue is
The risen Christ seen by 500 eye-witnesses
Imagine 500 people in a court of law
Each of them taking the stand reporting what they saw
If their stories lined up and made sense
The evidence would have to leave you convinced
But still it’s by faith that we trust and praise the Son
Who was raised for our justification
Nero is dead, Constantine is dead
Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun are dead
Alexander the Great is dead- however
Jesus is Alive
Napoleon is dead, Lao Tzu is dead
Che Guevara and Henry VIII are dead
Saddam Hussein is dead- however
Jesus is Alive
Through faith in Christ, we’ve been saved from hell
Because He’s risen, it means we’ll be raised as well
In glorified bodies fit for the new earth
For now, we participate in the new birth
The universal reality of the true church
With resurrection power, watch the Spirit do work!
United with Christ, we reside in His light
Abide in His might, keep in stride as we fight
The pride in our life, the lies and the spite
We strive to be wise as He guides through the night
He’ll chide and He’ll slice- recognize that He’s right
His brightness inside lights our eyes and it’s tight
(He) decided to die to wash white all our strife
His life was the price to delight in His wife
He told death “sike” just to rise like a kite
All eyes on the Christ- let’s prize Him tonight
Pharaoh is dead, Cyrus is dead
Darius and Sennacharib are dead
Nebuchadnezzar is dead- however
Jesus is Alive
Caesar is dead, Herod is dead
Annas, Caiaphas and Judas are dead
Pontius Pilate is dead- however
Jesus is Alive
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
How many times have you heard Christians say (or heard the words from your own mouth), "So-and-so is not a Christian but he's searching"? It is a common statement among Christians. The idea is that there are people all over the place who are searching for God. Their problem is that they just haven't been able to find Him. He is playing hide-and-seek. He is elusive.
In the Garden of Eden, when sin came into the world, who hid? Jesus came into the world to seek and to save the lost. Jesus wasn't the one who was hiding. God is not a fugitive. We are the ones on the run. Scripture declares that the wicked flee when no man pursues. As Martin Luther remarked: "The pagan trembles at the rustling of a leaf. The uniform teaching of Scripture is that fallen men are fleeing from God."
People do not seek God. They seek after the benefits that only God can give them. The sin of fallen man is this: Man seeks the benefits of God while fleeing from God Himself. We are, by nature, fugitives.
The Bible tells us repeatedly to seek after God. The conclusion we draw from these texts is that since we are called to seek after God it must mean that we, even in our fallen state, have the moral capacity to do that seeking. But who is being addressed in these texts? In the case of the Old Testament, it is the people of Israel who are called to seek the Lord. In the New Testament, it is believers who are called to seek the kingdom.
Are you seeking the benefits God can give you or seeking after God alone?