Monday, February 27, 2006

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

If Jesus is the Answer... Then what is the question?"



Romans 1 (New King James Version)


18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Valley of Vision

This is a good description of the Gospel and reflects the Beatitudes:

LORD, HIGH AND HOLY, MEEK AND LOWLY,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
Where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
Hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
That the way down is the way up,
That to be low is to be high,
That the broken heart is the healed heart,
That the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
That the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
That to have nothing is to possess all,
That to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
That to give is to receive,
That the valley is the place of vision.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
And the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin,
Thy riches in my poverty
Thy glory in my valley.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Clarion Call to the Modern Church by: John MacArthur



Christians historically have understood that their calling is to be in the world but not of the world. As Os Guinness pointed out in a perceptive series of articles on the church-growth movement, traditional evangelicalism not only resisted worldly influences, but also used to stress "cognitive defiance" of the world spirit.
Now, however, "the world has become so powerful, pervasive, and appealing that the traditional stance of cognitive defiance has become rare and almost unthinkable" ("Recycling the Compromise of Liberalism," Tabletalk [May 1992], 51.). At some point, evangelicals decided to make friends with the world.
Guinness pointed out that although we are called to be in the world but not of the world (John 17:14-18), many Christians have reversed the formula, becoming of the world while not really being in the world. They did this by allowing cable television, VCRs, radio, and other forms of communication to infuse worldly values into their thinking, while isolating themselves from any personal involvement with the people in the world who most desperately need the gospel.
"Evangelicals are now outdoing the liberals as the supreme religious modernizers-and compromisers-of today," Guinness writes (Ibid.). The market-driven philosophy so popular among modern evangelicals is nothing more than "a recycling of the error of classical liberalism" (Ibid.).
The reason most evangelicals were caught unaware by modernism a hundred years ago is that liberals rose from within evangelical ranks, used evangelical vocabulary, and gained acceptance through relentless appeals for peace and tolerance. New church-growth movements are following precisely the same course, and that tactic has taken evangelicals by surprise once again.
Most of the market-driven megachurches insist they would never compromise doctrine. They are attractive to evangelicals precisely because they claimed to be as orthodox in their doctrine as they are unorthodox in their methodology. Multitudes have been sufficiently reassured by such promises and have simply abandoned their critical faculties, thus increasing their vulnerability. Unfortunately, real discernment is in short supply among modern evangelicals.
Like the modernists a century ago, churches in the user-friendly movement have decided that doctrine is divisive-peace is more important than sound teaching. Wanting to appeal to a modern age, they have framed their message as a friendly, agreeable, and relevant dialogue, rather than as a confrontation with the gospel of Christ.
The relevant issues of our modern age-radicalism, abortion, feminism, homosexuality, and other politically charged moral issues-pose the most obvious threat for user-friendly churches. Their undefined theology and seeker-sensitive philosophy do not permit them to take a firm biblical stance on such matters, because the moment they defy the spirit of the age, they forfeit their marketing appeal. They are therefore forced to keep silent or capitulate. Either way, they compromise the truth.
If a church is not even willing to take a firm stand against abortion, how will it deal with the erosion of crucial doctrine? If a church lacks discernment enough to condemn such overt errors as homosexuality or feminism, how will it handle a subtle attack on doctrinal integrity?
Many evangelical churches have wholly abandoned strong preaching about hell, sin, and the wrath of God. They claim God's primary attribute is benevolence-one that overrides and supersedes His holiness, justice, wrath, and sovereignty.
Rather than addressing humanity's greatest need-forgiveness of sins-modern sermons deal with contemporary topics, psychological issues (depression, eating disorders, self-image), personal relationships, motivational themes, and other matters a la mode.
The market-driven philosophy of user-friendly churches does not easily permit them to take firm enough doctrinal positions to oppose false teaching. Their outlook on leadership drives them to hire marketers who can sell rather than biblically qualified pastors who can teach. Their approach to ministry is so undoctrinal that they cannot educate their people against subtle errors. Their avoidance of controversy puts them in a position where they cannot oppose false teaching that masquerades as evangelicalism.
In fact, the new trends in theology seem ideally suited to the user-friendly philosophy. Why would the user-friendly church oppose such doctrines?
But oppose them we must, if we are to remain true to God's Word and maintain a gospel witness. Pragmatic approaches to ministry do not hold answers to the dangers confronting biblical Christianity today.
Pragmatism promises bigger churches, more people, and a living church, but it is really carnal wisdom-spiritually bankrupt and contrary to the Word of God.
Marketing techniques offer nothing but the promise of popularity and worldly approval. They certainly offer no safeguard against the dangers of the down-grade toward spiritual ruin.
The only hope is a return to Scripture and sound doctrine. We evangelicals desperately need to recover our determination to be biblical, our refusal to comply with the world, our willingness to defend what we believe, and our courage to defy false teaching. Unless we collectively awaken to the current dangers that threaten our faith, the adversary will attack us from within, and we will not be able to withstand.
Yet, surely, there must be some who will fling aside the dastard love of peace, and speak out for our Lord, and for his truth. A craven spirit is upon many, and their tongues are paralyzed. Oh, for an outburst of true faith and holy zeal! (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
Adapted from Ashamed of the Gospel, © 1993 by John MacArthur.
Friday, January 21, 2005

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Preaching Christ Alone

Go to this link to see the whole article:

Preaching Christ Alone
If our preaching does not center on Christ, from Genesis to Revelation,
no matter how good or helpful, it is not the proclamation of God's Word.
by Michael Horton

The "Christ And..." Syndrome
In C. S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters, the devil's strategy is not to remove Christ altogether from the scene, but to propagate a "Christ And..." religion:


What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of "Christianity And." You know--Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychic Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians, let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing (Letter XXV).


Today, we see this in terms of Christ and America; Christ and Self-Esteem; Christ and Prosperity; Christ and the Republican or Democratic Party; Christ and End-Time Predictions; Christ and Healing; Christ and Marketing and Church Growth; Christ and Traditional Values, and on we could go, until Christ himself becomes little more than an appendage to a religion that can, after all, get on quite well without him. That is not, of course, to say that the evangelical enterprise could do this without some difficulty. After all, every movement needs a mascot. We say we are Christ-centered, but what was the sermon about last Sunday?

In fact, it is not even enough to preach the centrality of Christ. It is particularly Christ as he is our sacrifice for sin and guarantor of new life because of his resurrection that the Bible makes central in its revelation.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Book of Romans



The Book of Romans

by Michael S. Horton (Host of the White Horse Inn)

What is the Book of Romans primarily about?

Here is Paul's argument in a nutshell: The problem that all of humanity faces is the wrath of God, which is entirely justified because the Gentiles know God according to general revelation and the Jews know God according to special revelation, yet both have failed to truly acknowledge God, since they have violated his law. Since everyone is under sin and God’s wrath, the only way out is the gospel: the announcement that in Christ God has provided a righteousness that satisfies his holy requirements. Christ has absorbed God’s wrath in his death and justifies the wicked by his resurrection. All of this is received through faith alone, apart from works, as the examples of Abraham and David demonstrate. Yet God has not only secured our salvation from the condemnation of the law, but also from the dominion of sin and death. Baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, we are made new creatures. However, we continue to struggle throughout our life with indwelling sin and the only hope we have is to look outside of ourselves to Christ, with the indwelling Spirit testifying in our hearts to our free adoption and keeping alive within us the hope that not only we but the whole creation will share in the final redemption. In the light of all of this, nothing can separate us from God’s love. But how can we trust this gospel if God has been unfaithful to his earlier promises to Israel? Well, God has always maintained his prerogative of election even among the physical descendants of Abraham. Salvation is not a matter of physical descent or of human decision or effort, but of God’s mercy alone. God has been faithful to his promises because even now an elect remnant is being saved from among Jews and Gentiles, and after God adds alien Gentile branches to the Tree of Israel, he will finally bring in the fullness of the Jews as well. In view of these mercies that stagger our imagination, we can now offer not the dead sacrifices of animals for atonement but our own bodies as living sacrifices for thanksgiving and praise. In that light, stop judging each other about “things indifferent” and get on with the business of loving and serving each other.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

John Calvin - Regard for Romans


From John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion:
"With regard to the excellency of this Epistle, I know not whether it would be well for me to dwell long on the subject; for I fear, lest through my recommendations falling far short of what they ought to be, I should do nothing but obscure its merits: besides, the Epistle itself, at its very beginning, explains itself in a much better way than I can. I will therefore simply lay out the argument of this great letter. For it can never be sufficiently appreciated that when anyone gains a knowledge of this Epistle, he has an entrance opened to him to all the most hidden treasures of Scripture. The whole Epistle is so methodical, that even its very beginning is framed according to the rules of art….For having begun with the proof of his Apostleship, he then comes to the Gospel with the view of recommending it; and as this necessarily draws with it the subject of faith, he glides into that, being led by the chain of words as by the hand: and thus he enters on the main subject of the whole Epistle—justification by faith; in treating which he is engaged to the end of the fifth chapter. The subject then of these chapters may be stated thus—that man’s only righteousness is through the mercy of God in Christ, which being offered by the Gospel is apprehended by faith. To begin, he must first convince men, asleep in their sins and the flattery of self-righteousness, of their guilt. Not only the pagans are arraigned, but they who boast in the law are brought to God’s tribunal, exposing the fictitious holiness of ‘saintlings.’ Having deprived all of any of their own righteousness before God, St. Paul then lays down his main subject—justification by faith."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Luther's Preface to the Book of Romans


Reform-Shire

From Martin Luther's Preface to the Book of Romans:
“You had better follow the order of this epistle. Worry first about Christ and the gospel, that you may recognize your sin and his grace. Then fight your sin, as the first eight chapters here have taught. Then, when you have reached the eighth chapter, and are under the cross and suffering, this will teach you correctly of predestination in chapters 9, 10, and 11, and how comforting it is….In chapter 12 he teaches what true worship is, and makes all Christians priests. They are to offer not money or cattle, as under the law, but their own bodies, with slaying of the lusts. Then he describes the outward conduct of Christians, under the spiritual government, telling how they are to teach, preach, rule, serve, give, suffer, love, live, and act toward friend, foe, and all men. These are the works that a Christian does; after all, faith takes no holidays....This Epistle is really the chief part of the NT, and is truly the purest gospel. It is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but also that he should occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. We can never read it or ponder over it too much; for the more we deal with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Are You Saved?????

Saved from what????


Answer:

Saved by God....

From God.

Sola Deo Gloria!!!

All to the Glory of God... Alone!!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Beatitudes

Matthew 5

The Beatitudes
1 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “ Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

When we are regenerated (receive the Holy Spirit), we realize that we are sinners and how destitute and beggarly poor we are. We realize that we are dead in trespasses and we have absolutely no way to pay our debts. We are utterly bankrupt.

This is why we must continue to preach the Gospel instead of worrying about whether we are going to damage their self-esteem or whether they are going to like us. We often think that "If they like us, then their going to like our Jesus".


4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.

Then when we realize that we are destitute and dead in trespasses and nothing in ourselves to pay this debt we will mourn over our situation, and we will cry out for mercy. "Have mercy on me a sinner!"

Psalm 51

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.


And when we continue to preach the Gospel and Christ at the center, we as believers will continue to go to the Lord crying out for mercy, just like David did all throughout the Psalms, as we want to maintain that relationship and we always remember what God has saved us from His Holy wrath to begin with.

This is part of the sanctification process and this is what corrects us as believers, not scholding or cheerleading us to do better. We don't need "man-centered" books or classes for having "5 steps to a better this" and "40 days of whatever" to determine our purpose.

Grace and Peace

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Holiness of God

I'll get back to the Beatitudes soon...

_________________

If I were asked to teach a class, I think the topic I would like to select for a 6 week course would be:

The Holiness of God

This also could be part of the "Romans Revolution" on the White Horse Inn.

Below would be a kind of Outline or a brief synopsis of the class information.


"The Lord is righteous in all His ways."
Psalm 145:17
²²²
God’s holiness is evident in everything He does, particularly in creation, the law, judgment, and salvation.
The whole purpose of the Old Testament is to reveal the holiness and righteousness of God, who is utterly perfect and pure. In fact, the Hebrew word for "holy" is used more than 600 times in the Old Testament to indicate moral perfection.
What are some areas in which we see God’s holiness? First, we see it in the original perfection of His creation: "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). All of creation was in tune with God’s holy character.
Later God laid down His righteous, moral law for Israel. In it He gave rules about worship and society. He prescribed penalties for murder, adultery, and stealing. He condemned lying, coveting, and many other sins. There were many rules, but they revealed a God who is infinitely right and without error, flaw, or tolerance for sin. The law showed God’s character: "The Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good" (Rom. 7:12).
God’s holiness will ultimately be demonstrated "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" (2 Thess. 1:7–9). His judgment on sin is a reflection of His holiness; He must punish it.
Perhaps the supreme expression of God’s holiness is seen in sending His Son to die on the cross (cf. Rom. 8:3–4). God paid the highest price, but it was the only price that could satisfy His holiness. Jesus Christ is Himself "the Holy and Righteous One" (Acts 3:14); so only He could "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb. 9:26). God’s holiness is so infinite, and our unholiness is so great, that only the sacrifice of the God-man could pay for the enormity of our sin.
²²²
Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God that He sent His Son to die for our sins, so we could be "holy and blameless before Him" (Eph. 1:4).
For Further Study: Some of God’s laws for the Israelites are given in Exodus 21–23. Note in particular the penalties for breaking these laws. What does this passage teach you about God’s character?