LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Monday, December 31, 2007

Ministry Failed

And say to Archippus, "See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord."
(Colossians 4:17 – ESV)

This verse commands us to exhort others to continually fulfill their ministry. It also commands us to be continually fulfilling our own ministry. However, that isn’t as simple as it sounds. It is impossible to always be fulfilling it all, practically and morally. We all reach impossible climbs, deep valleys, and dead ends in what we do. As well, how can we even see what others must do when we don’t even know what to do ourselves? How could we even muster up the courage to tell them to keep fulfilling their ministry when we are doing so poorly ourselves? How can we tell someone to go to it when we are having such a hard time even keeping our own head above water? How can we meet our obligations to others if we cannot even meet our own?

Even if we are able to reach a level of obedience and breadth or success in ministry, we still too often think this makes us good. In that case we are fulfilling ourselves by fulfilling our ministry and we are not truly obeying at all. Our lives aren’t praising Him they are praising our accomplishments. The more we think about this in depth, the more we realize that this is an impossible task. We cannot fulfill our ministry.

Jesus did fulfill His ministry, however. Christ is the ultimate embodiment of this principle and command. He encouraged and supported others, He fulfilled His ministry at all times, He did anything, and everything His Father commanded and wanted Him to do. John 17:4, 19:30 – the most important ministry has been done. Acts 2:32-33 – Christ has given us of the Spirit so that we can fulfill it.

So looking to Christ as always is the key. Our inability to do what must be done stems from our lack of belief in Christ as sufficient. We feel as if we have to fulfill our ministry or we fall from grace, but this is not the case. That is a self-righteous thing, motivated by fear and pride. However, it is not from fear and pride that we can move with Christ, but from humility and joy. Repent and rejoice in Christ, see Him as enough and then we can live as we ought.

Instead of seeing Him as some moral example we must see Him as our substitute, as the fulfillment of this command, and Paul and Timothy and others as the example, as they saw Christ as substitute, not just at the Cross, but also as our daily clothing. We must wear the garments of grace or others won’t see Christ as all sufficient and beautiful, they will only see us as great, and their lives as miserable. If our lives don’t point to Christ, they point to perdition.

Just because you feel as if you are doing all that you have been called to do is no reason to feel smug. If your life says to others, “look what I am doing for Christ”, or “look at all Christ has done for me”, and yet if it does not say, “look at how beautiful Christ is” then I tell you that you are not fulfilling your ministry, the ministry is simply fulfilling you.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ministry Received

And say to Archippus, "See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord."
(Colossians 4:17 – ESV)

We need to understand ministry as something received, not something achieved. It has been given to you and it is your job to see to it that it gets fulfilled. We shouldn’t think more highly of ourselves than we ought (Luke 14:7-11), anything you have you have received (1 Corinthians 4:7) but we also shouldn’t think less, you have received something, and you must fulfill the ministry you have received. If you don’t know what your ministry is, start by encouraging someone else in what theirs is.

All true ministry is done “in the Lord”, not in yourself, you cannot do it alone. In Christ you are significant but not special. Some want ministry only because it makes them feel special, or they go about looking to show that they are special. Other people will help affirm your call, don’t go looking to do that yourself. Some want to show you how their ministry is mystical, and some don’t want ministry unless it means they are higher than others. These all have a self-esteem problem but the answer isn’t to boost their self-esteem but boost their esteem for God and to boost their esteem for others (Philippians 2:3). It is not about fulfilling ministry for the sake of doing it but for Him. That can be more subtle a problem than you may think.

This is not so much calling on duty in ministry as calling on devotion in Christ. The ministry may be to other people but it is in the Lord, and it is Him we are looking to, not to other people’s approval of our ministry, or certain results. You are not saved either in the ultimate sense or even in the temporal sense by pursuing the fulfilling of your ministry; if you are a Christian then you have already been saved, that is why you can fulfill it. It is unbelief, fear and pride that stop you, but you cannot simply wave your hand and send them away, can you? Indeed, we are not trying to get you to try harder; we are helping you solve the problem by applying the gospel to it.

It all comes down to God; this verse is to be seen through the lens of Christ. It may seem as if it is basically about what we must do, and tell others to do, but it is really about what Christ has done. If we see this verse as only instructions on what we are to do, without seeing Christ as having already fulfilled something, then Jesus only serves as an example for us to follow. In the Lord – without relating this to Christ it only becomes moral commands to try hard to do or achieve. Only when we see that Jesus has already fulfilled His ministry, the main ministry, then can we see to it that we fulfill ours. If He had not, we could not, but because He has, we can. His victory has been accounted to us, He has won the war, and that is why we can proclaim the ultimate victory despite the heat of battles.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Keep Pouring

And say to Archippus, "See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord."
(Colossians 4:17 – ESV)

See that you – We are to keep seeing to it, it is a present tense command for us to be active. You are to be one who says but also one who sees. You must say to the Archippus in your life to see to it, and like an Archippus you must see to it yourself. You have an obligation to say to others to see to it and to see to it yourself.

Fulfill – This is to be a continuous action, we are to keep making it full. This is not a one-time event; you don’t give it to people and then give up on those people. The kingdom of God works like the crop of corn, the blade, the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. Notice that this implies that ministry is not so much about potential but about the process. It is an ongoing thing that you keep filling up. You are personally being poured out as you are pouring into others. 2 Timothy 4:5-7 – Do the work, fulfill your ministry, keep filling it up, you may keep getting poured out but you can say as Paul that he fought the good fight and finished the race.

The Ministry – We all are called to minister, and we are all saved to serve. Not everyone’s ministry is leading or teaching, but everyone’s ministry is their own life, to others in their own world, to their family, to their church. Everyone is an evangelist at some time. Also, those called to teach and preach must be ministered to, and there may be seasons of sitting down.

When we see that we are to continue to fulfill ministry, to keep doing it, to keep filling it up, it reminds us that ministry is more about process than instant progress. This means both the ministry you have in general, and the ministry you do specifically. Both are a process. Now certainly we have teachable moments we look for, but transformation is much more process-oriented than crisis-oriented, more eventuality than event. There are incidental encounters but growth in grace in any area is an ongoing thing.

If you are looking to minister, remember this. Instead of looking for a magic bullet or a miracle cure, or that one big breakthrough, which is usually just an emotional release, look for the long haul. It is more about truth encounters than power encounters. You are planting the word of God, and it is a seed not miracle grow. Keep pouring into others, keep being poured into, and keep filling up your ministry.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

I remember many years ago watching ABC's Wide World of Sports with host Jim McKay. I can hear the music now and I can still picture that skier coming down the ramp and cascading head long over the side with Jim McKay announcing, the "thrill of victory and the agony of defeat." There's a parallel here for the believer. I am reading through the book of Revelation as I near the end of the year and without a doubt there is victory and there is defeat. However for many christians, they live like we are defeated. For sure the times we live in seem to portray that. The success of atheistic humanism in schools and society read like the Devil's litany. God is expelled from the public school, abortion is now legal, pornography is rampant on the world wide web, homosexuality is portrayed as a healthy alternative lifestyle and Christianity is misrepresented and ridiculed both on TV and in the movies.

In times like these, the temptation for some christians and churches is to withdraw in silence and to take the spiritual road of isolationism and become a "secret agent" for Jesus. But what does the Bible say? How does God react and respond to those who conspire against him? Read Psalm 2:4

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. KJV

But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. NLT

He who is sitting in the heavens doth laugh, The Lord doth mock at them.YOUNGS

Ha ha ha ha ... God laughs at them. And if God laughs at them, we can laugh at our enemies too. Why? Because we know the One who is going to laugh last. We know the victor, Christ and we are on His side and we will indeed enjoy the thrill of victory while those who mock Christ today will someday experience the agony of defeat.

These times are not unique to us. Christians have been scorned, mocked and persecuted ever since the birth of the church. The church has been continually surrounded by wickedness. The Psalmist many times asked why the Lord seemed to stand afar off. But like the Psalmist we can take courage in God's coming victory.

Why not take time this week to read Revelation chapter 19 which speaks of our great God ruling.

"And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice ..."

Resting in Him

P.S. Here's a shot of that skier pummeling down the slopes ... ouch!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Speak Up

And say to Archippus, "See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord."
(Colossians 4:17 – ESV)

Paul knew the trials, the ups and downs of being in ministry, and he consistently kept an eye out to exhort and encourage his ministry disciples and partners. You see this when you study 1 Timothy 1:3-7, 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5, Ephesians 6:18, and in many other places. The idea of exhorting and encouraging one another in our walks and ministries fills the New Testament.

So who’s to say the words? The letter to the Colossians was to the whole church at Colossae, all the members, and all the members were to speak to Archippus, maybe not each one individually, but the sense is that anyone has the right. The church speaks to the leaders for encouragement as well as the leaders speak to the church. This is not about being presumptuous in telling others what they “should” be doing, but to encourage each other as to those things we all need to be doing. To encourage those already doing something specific to be able to fulfill it, and for those looking to do something particular to make sure they are looking to the Lord and encouraging them with your pledged support.

So we are to encourage not just in general but also specifically, to individuals. We all have a ministry of encouragement, and it is important, and it is commanded. The writer of this letter, the one and only Apostle Paul, even he needed encouragement. At the beginning of his ministry he was aided by a man named Barnabas, whose name means son of encouragement (Acts 4:36). He helped Paul when no one else would, and the Bible says he was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and faith (Acts 11:24), but he doesn’t get mentioned as much as some others we speak of. I’m sure that isn’t bothering Him in heaven right now.

Some scholars say he wrote Hebrews – think of that, one of the greatest books in the Bible, and perhaps the greatest one setting forth the supremacy of Christ. Barnabas may have written that and wasn’t even recognized for it. Whoever did write Hebrews is not recognized but what they did was and is still effective for God. You may not be like Paul or you may not be like Barnabas, you may not be the one who is recognized but you still have a ministry, and we all have an obligation to say to others to see to it, to be an encouragement to them.

Everyone has times when they need some encouragement, and sometimes we don’t know where it will come from. God has a way of sending someone around to say something that lifts us up when they don’t even know how or why it means so much to us, or even that their words meant anything special to us at all. Glory to God, it is a beautiful thing when that happens.

We should definitely develop an attitude of encouragement. However, having said that, let’s not be too hasty to try and be everyone’s encourager if that is not what we are called to do. Yes you will be called to be an encourager to someone and sometimes, but not everyone is always to speak to everyone about their issues. Hearing empty worn out words from someone we know doesn’t really understand or isn’t actually concerned is like putting salt on a wound. People like that just want to show off their supposed compassion and spirituality. See to it that this isn’t you.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007


by Zane Hodges


Readers, please read this paper by Zane Hodges. I would love your comments.

Happy reading!


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Friday, December 21, 2007

Just a Thought

When you don’t believe
You can be deceived
That’s when you already are

Think about it; is this you? Things you once said you would never do, now you do, you look for ways to do them, and you burn with passion for them. We think we can sin, and still be in our right minds, but we don’t see sin as sinful as it is. Every sin you commit affects your mindset towards sin itself; every little bit ruins a little bit of your mind.

Now, put that thing down...


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Single Issue Voter

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
(Romans 3:28 – ESV)

Paul anticipated what critics might say and then answered the charges. In perhaps similar fashion, when speaking of the glory of the great doctrines, you might hear someone say something like this. “Well this all just too abstract for me, what does doctrine do for me right now, how can I get a grip on what it means for today?” Okay, lets “go there”.

Let me start by saying that doctrine is the tool that helps you grow. It is a process, and it becomes applied as we live out life, not as we take them like a pill, but as we plant them like a seed. We see the doctrine, and what it says about Christ and about us, and we meet that with our faith, and it blooms as fruit in our lives. We don’t just look at it and then write it down or fill out some form, we believe it and become conformed into His image, from glory to glory as we see and believe it more and more (2 Corinthians 3:18).

It happens best within the context of a local church community but it is not an impersonal thing, but a very personal thing where the great doctrines make a great difference in our everyday living. And these particular doctrines are all-important, not only for our justification, but for our sanctification, our growth in grace, and we must understand that Jesus is the source of your life, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). Now let me just bring these doctrines right into your personal life right now, okay? So how does this filter out into giving God glory in my life? I’ll just apply this to one area that many have trouble with, perhaps all of us at times.

Many people measure their spirituality based solely on their self-control in one area or another. If they are “being good” in that one area that they are struggling with, then they feel spiritual, if not, then they feel like a failure spiritually. It is all or none, in a sense. It can be hard to help people find balance when they gauge the health of their relationship with Christ on a single issue – such as their sexual purity, anger issues, their thought life, or something else. Now we don’t want to give license to licentiousness or to excuse or encourage a lack of effort to control the self life, but instead of thinking solely about one issue as a measure, consider the whole life, are you advancing anywhere at all, in many areas, perhaps even in most areas?

If you are a “single issue voter” this may be why you fail to see your relationship with Christ as it is, a growing and complex dynamic of repentance and faith, based on His works, His love, His steadfastness. When a single issue carries so much weight the guilt and shame of failure can overwhelm a person. It also may be the reason why you neglect other areas, and as a result the whole life, spiritual and otherwise, suffers. Pay attention to your failings, sure, but don’t give them any more weight than they ought to have, and keep thanking God for the victories He has given you, and pray for more, all the while counting on this fact: it is not what we did, it is what He did that counts. The single issue has been forever settled in your favor.

Yes the sin is a problem, but it can lead to a greater problem because it can lead to more failure. The greater tragedy is not the failure of the individual sin, but when it leads to the failure to get back up, to be so swept away with guilt and shame that we let it bring us back down, away from any chance of victory. We settle for settling into a rut of routine spirituality, thinking that this is all there is, and we let the devil win, keeping us from becoming more solid in other areas as we lose the fight with this one issue. However, we must realize that the mark of faith is not that I don’t fail but that I do fight.

God makes a way where there is no way. There was no way for a man to be perfect and the Law pointed that out. By the deeds of the Law no man will be justified, but by faith in the person and works of Christ any man may be justified. This is the one necessary thing to salvation; you see it is God who is a single-issue voter, and He always wins the election. Have faith.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Above the Law?

He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
(Romans 3:30 – ESV)

Although we are not under the Law we are not above it either, but rather we are more in tune with its spiritual components, a heart circumcised to believe and obey, trusting in Him and glorifying His name through our obedience; not being saved by it but being saved we fulfill it. Justification does not mean to be righteous or to make righteous but to declare righteous, for the Christian we are declared righteous based on the perfect righteousness of Jesus the Messiah. He has fulfilled the Law for us and by our faith we establish that fact.

The Law still has purposes, for the non-believer and also for the believer. It is designed to lead people to the gospel of Christ (Galatians 3:19-23) and also to indict what is not in accord with the gospel (Galatians 2:14). Using the Law lawfully (1 Timothy 1:8-9) means using it to convict people of living out of accordance with the gospel. It is for those that don’t know it and for those that should know better. That is why we use both, we give the Law to the proud and grace to the humble, both Christian and non-Christian.

Through faith or by faith means that our faith is not the ground or that we are saved on account of our faith, but that it is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). God is absolutely holy and just, and so any justification, any declaration of righteousness, any acquittal of guilt, must be on a just basis; it must be right to do so. The penalty of the Law had to be satisfied and Christ paid that for us, and so God declares us righteous not on some whim, but because of Christ, and it is a just declaration. We are guilty but Christ pays the penalty, and then God is just in justifying the ungodly (Romans 4:5), declaring us righteous, because of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to our account (2 Corinthians 5:21).

As we see in Romans 3:24-26, the substitutionary atonement is the reason we can be justified by faith. It is faith in the person of Jesus and His finished work on the cross. With the wonderful doctrines of substitutionary atonement and justification by faith you can rest assured of your salvation, and as you cling to Christ in faith, you can conquer those voices that tell you tomorrow morning that you are a hopeless case. You don’t have to remember the names of the doctrines to remember who and what they are about. Jesus Christ dying for your sins and giving you a right standing before a satisfied God. By abiding in Christ by faith, you are not above the Law; in Christ you have fulfilled it.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Anti-Establishment Clause?

Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
(Romans 3:31 – KJV)

Paul says none of our own works can save us, and that the Law has no power to save because men are unable to keep it. Because of this he had been accused, wrongly, of promoting a “religion” which had no morality. In answering this, Paul says that we don’t abolish the Law but that by our faith we actually establish it. How can this be, you might ask?

What he means by this is very important, because he also says in Romans 10:4 that Jesus Christ is the end of the Law to all who believe in Him. So they might say he is abolishing the Law, but Paul says we establish it by faith. That is an amazing statement, and what does Paul mean we establish the Law when he says we aren’t justified by it? How can Paul say we establish the Law when he also says we don’t have to do it? Again, how can these things be?

He means that we establish the purpose of the Law, to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:21-24). He means that by our faith we establish that the Law is righteous, but that it cannot provide righteousness because of the weakness of mankind (Romans 8:3). We establish that its demands must be met, but that we cannot meet them. We establish that it cannot be met apart from faith in Christ, who did meet them (Matthew 5:17). We establish that people of faith now pursue the spirit of the Law by faith, as those who are already justified, and not by works, in order to be justified. By faith we establish the power of the Holy Spirit who is living in, and we can now be living out the spirit of the Law, as opposed to the mere letter, as Jesus spoke of it in the Sermon on the Mount, not in order to justify us, but to show the fruit of being justified.

We live in the love, the acceptance, and the justification that Jesus provides us as our safety, our satisfaction, our rest, and our all in all. Jesus fulfilled all the righteous requirements of the Law, and we establish that fact in our lives and in our world by our faith. Faith does not produce disobedient, lazy Christians; it produces obedient, loving Christians who follow Jesus by the Spirit from the heart. Romans 13:8-10 – love is the fulfilling of the Law. In other words, love fulfills or establishes the Law. And where does love come from? It is a fruit of the Spirit in our lives, and the fruit of the Spirit is the fruit of faith.

Being justified by faith is not an anti-establishment clause for religion; indeed it establishes the true religion. The Law points to that fact and we establish that fact by faith.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Oaks of Righteousness

Photo: Oak Alley Plantation on Mississippi River near New Orleans.

These oaks were planted at Oak Alley in the early 1700’s, which was before the United States became a country. They are almost four hundred years old and are indeed a magnificent example of the glory of God’s creation. God is also glorified by the following prophetic passage in Isaiah where he predicts the planting of God’s people by the LORD:

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (2) to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; (3) to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

Jesus began his ministry by quoting from this passage and proclaiming that, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” The planting of the LORD will be called oaks of righteousness seems to indicate that God’s glory will be shown by the redeemed who will make up His Church. Jesus came to bring the good news that, through His blood, He would purchase a people unto Himself. They would be called oaks of righteousness because the LORD would not only save his people, but he would change them from the inside out with the intervention and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. An Angel of the LORD told Joseph, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

Praise God that His redeemed are like oaks of righteousness and not like willow trees blowing in the wind. The true Church of Jesus Christ still battles indwelling sin, but through their new nature and the indwelling spirit they will overcome and win the battle. Just as there are no willow trees along the rows of Oak Alley, there will be no tares in heaven when God separates the wheat from the tares. When the tares are bound and thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, they will be in hell and not in some kind of free grace purgatory.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


by Mark Pierson

I am really enjoying Blaising and Bock's "Progressive Dispensationalism". I like how they see that in Eph. 2:11-19 the New Covenant promised to Israel in Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:38-40; Ezekiel 36:25-27, etc. is now also available to the Gentiles. That of having God the Holy Spirit living inside and moving us to walk in God's ways. This is the parting of the ways in the two systems of FGT and Progressive Dispensationalism - how the New Covenant is viewed. Where man failed under the Old Covenant God takes up with the "I wills" of the New Covenant. Christians, both Jews and Gentiles, benefit from God's "I wills". Man failed under the Old, God triumphs in the New. I believe that the Church is now at the very appex of redemptive history this side of the eternal state. The land promises and political promises, so say Blaising and Bock, will find fulfillment in the millenium.

However, the New Covenant is being experienced in an inaugural sense right now as men and women are now temples of God, indwelt by His Spirit, and walking (albeit faultingly)in His ways. He is now working in them both to will and to do for His good pleasure. His Spirit, working in concert with His word, is bearing fruit in lives. New desires arise from that heart of flesh spoken of in the New Cov. Christ-likeness is now the aim of the Christian life, thanks to the indwelling Holy Spirit.

That contrite heart God desires is now a reality. We are now to show forth the praises of Him Who has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. We are now His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. The drive to be more like Christ is the product of the Spirit's indwelling.

Living lives to the glory of Christ is what brings on the rewards. In short, we are saved to serve, the Father having crucified us with His Son, that our bodies of sin might be destroyed. We are no longer slaves of sin, but slaves to God, and led by His Spirit. Having been conveyed by the Father into His Son's kingdom, the Son now reigns over us His subjects by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We all will go on to rewards, some having yielded 100 fold, some 60, some 30 - yet ALL will be rewarded. It will be grace upon grace - God having been the One to have enabled, to have led and to have energized the saint all along; and that saint getting the rewards for what God had done through him or her.

Praise God!


Thursday, December 13, 2007


Unto Us
A Son Is Given
Unto Us
A Son Is Given
And The Government
Shall Be Upon His Shoulders
...And The Government Shall Be Upon His Shoulders
And His Name
...And His Name
Shall Be Called Wonderful!
The Mighty God!
The Everlasting Father!
The Prince of Peace!
The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

About That Change

remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
(Acts 20:35 – ESV)

I am sure that everyone in their lifetimes has been the type of person who sees someone else get something good, and they feel like that person doesn’t deserve it, or that they deserve it more than the person who got it, or that they just wish someone would give them something like that, or notice them, or well, you know what I mean. We have all had to deal with being that way at one time or another, but have you ever met someone who is perpetually like that? It can be an emotionally draining experience to have to be around someone who is always looking out for someone getting something more than they feel they have. You know the mantra: “I never get to go.” “I never get invited.” “I wish I could have something nice like that.” On and on it goes. They are always looking at what someone else has been given, and they always have the same old song playing in their jukebox…woe is me, I never get anything that good.

Now for some who are like this, I’ll have to admit something, it truthfully does seem as if they are left out, left behind, or left alone, they don’t receive some of the good things others seem to always be getting. They truly don’t seem to receive too much in the way of favor or blessing, in a sense. Ah, but that is where we can see the problem; this type of person doesn’t know HOW to receive. It starts by being glad when others receive goods things. The pie of life doesn’t have a limited amount of slices. God is able to make all grace, whatever you need, abound to you (2 Corinthians 9:8). You need to learn to receive. It starts with giving thanks.

The truth is that if you are looking for chances to despair you will notice that there is always someone getting something you don’t have. You should realize that there is always someone getting something you don’t want either. And you need to stop looking around at what everybody else is getting and start realizing all you have, even if it is close to nothing it is still something and you can and should and indeed you must be grateful for what others get, it is good for them. Stop worrying as if you won’t be content until these cosmic scales of fairness you dream of even out for you. Let me tell you they never will.

Instead of bringing your misery and envy to everyone, start being thankful for the grace others get. Considering your situation, nothing about that will change until you change your thoughts about that. Give others your gratefulness and perhaps you will start receiving something other than their displeasure. Include gratefulness for the good things that others receive and then perhaps you will start receiving good things yourself.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Romans One: the gospel in the Salutation

I (Daniel) preached this sermon Yesterday, and Mark asked me to post it here.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
Do you see how Paul opens his discourse? We know, because we have read the whole epistle before, where Paul is going - but for those in Rome who are receiving it, they do not know where Paul is going with the epistle. Paul’s introduction here is therefore precise, and articulate - full. What Paul says in summary here must agree with, and be flushed out by, what will follow. Paul is therefore careful to inject the truth he plans to elaborate upon concisely in this opening salutation.

The customary epistolary salutation typically had three parts - first the sending party was identified, then the intended receiving party named, and finally, though not always, there was a brief benediction. We see this format in most of the NT epistles, though Hebrews and 1 John do not follow this format.

As Paul begins to identify himself in the first part of the salutation, we see that he immediately goes off on a tangent the moment he mentions the word “gospel.” We want to understand why Paul would do such a thing. Why does Paul in the middle of his own introduction, at the mention of the word “gospel” go off on the tangent does? Instead of simply stating who he is, Paul begins already to inject doctrine into his epistle. Remember that Paul is identifying himself to a church that was most likely started by former Jews and Jewish proselytes who had been converted in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. When these former Jews returned to their homes in Rome, they returned as Christians and began a new fellowship there.

Paul knew that none of Christ’s Apostles had traveled as far as Rome yet. In all likelihood, the church at Rome was doctrinally immature - we see in this knowledge therefore, some good reason for Paul’s tangential foray into doctrine during this, the introduction of himself to the Romans.

We should not dismiss therefore, this doctrinal “aside” in Paul’s introduction of himself - as merely flowery, poetic, or polite and prosy “Christian” nicety. Nor ought we to ignore it completely as we hurry on into the meat of the epistle as though Paul’s tangent here could be skipped on the premise that it is just the eloquent and polite way that Paul is introducing himself. Indeed, I have no doubt that many of us may well who see no more in these opening remarks than polite Christian flattery, and those among us who are of this sort are at risk. First we are at risk of missing the point, and second, having missed the point we are at risk of attempting to parrot in our own conversations, letters, and whatnot - the flavor of Paul’s salutation - as though it is good Christian form to inject such things in our salutations. Paul is not being vain and empty or especially prosy and poetic in his introduction of himself, Paul is qualifying himself in the context of what he is about to discuss..

We must therefore be on guard, not only to understand what Paul is saying, but to understand why Paul is saying it, and why Paul is saying it the way Paul says it! In this way we not only understand the text, but we guard ourselves against such things as vacuously attempting to ape in our own discourses the beautiful, Christ exalting language Paul’s greeting entails, without doing so for any greater purpose than because Paul did it and that makes it seems especially Christian to do so.

Paul is not waxing eloquent here to establish himself as an especially sensitive poet to his readers. Rather Paul, in introducing himself to his Roman readers, anticipates a need to establish the gospel first as the fulfillment of OT promises and secondly as the unifying bond between himself and his readers.
Paul doesn’t leave anything to chance in this introduction.

Paul does not presume his readers in Rome will understand what he means by “a called Apostle” or what it means to have been separated to the gospel, or that it is understood “Who” it was who had separated him to it, or even that his Roman readers understand the gospel within the historical context and prophetic imagery of the Old Testament scriptures.

Paul certainly knows that there are Jewish converts in Rome, but he does not write presuming upon their understanding, instead he writes presuming upon ignorance, beginning as he does, by identifying himself as Paul - the bond slave of Jesus Christ, an emissary who was hand picked by the risen Lord to deliver (as God’s spokesman) God’s message to the nations - the gospel.

We don’t want to miss the import of Paul’s words here by hastening past them - but rather we want to pause at the well and drink. To soak in, as much as the Lord will permit, to grasp as much as we are able, exactly why Paul introduces himself in the way that he does? What does the commission God gave to Paul (and the way Paul expresses) it teach us about our Lord and Savior? What did the Holy Spirit intend for us to understand by influencing Paul to inject doctrine right here in the introduction of himself?

When Paul mentions the gospel that he has been set aside to preach, he cannot leave the mention of the gospel unqualified: Good news? Good news about what?
Now here it does us some good to understand first, [1] who Paul is writing to, and second [2] why that is important when it comes to the word gospel (euaggelion).

We note that Paul is writing this epistle to those who are in Rome, and we note that it is at the word “gospel” that Paul begins to qualify his meaning. We do well therefore to pause here and ask ourselves: why does Paul begin to make these qualifications here? Is there something significant here I should be paying attention to?

I believe that the historical context in which Paul’s epistle was written may shed light on why Paul leaps off the word “gospel” like he does.

After Caesar Augustus died in 14 A.D., the Romans senate declared him to be a god, and Roman citizens were encouraged to worship him. They even renamed the eighth month from Sextilis to August in honor of Augustus.

As an aside, it should strike no Christian observer as coincidental that the declaration of a man as God should come so shortly after the birth of Christ. Is there a more efficient way to discredit the incarnation of God than to flood the market (as it were) with so many incarnations that the neutral observer will gladly receive the idea that if any are fake, they must all be fake. What better way to discredit the genuine than to make it appear to be just one of many false notions?
Augustus had an adopted son - Tiberius. When Augustus died, Tiberius became the Emperor. Because the senate had “made” Augustus a God, some considered Tiberius to be a “living” god - but Tiberius personally refused to be worshipped as such. The reign of Tiberius is mentioned in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 3:1) to identify when John the Baptist began preaching (it was the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius - about 29 A.D.)

Tiberius adopted a man by the name of Germanicus, but the empire didn’t pass to Germanicus when Tiberius died in 37 A.D., instead it passed to the son of Germanicus - to a man history knows as Caligula.

It was Caligula (the predecessor of Claudius) who, more than any other, injected into Roman politics the idea that the Emperor was a living god. Prior to Caligula the worship of a deceased Emperor was common enough, but living men were not being worshipped as gods. Although it was at first controversial, during Caligula’s four year reign, he required all of those in Rome, including the Roman senate to worship him as a living god.

After Caligula’s assassination, his uncle Claudius was named Emperor. It was this same Claudius (we read of in Acts 18:2) who expelled the Jews from Rome as part of his religious reforms. The Roman Emperors linked religion to politics in order to rule more efficiently. Claudius’ reforms were intended to purge Rome of any religion that didn’t contribute politically to Roman rule.

By the time the stepson of Nero became Emperor in 54 A.D. what has come to be known as the Imperial Cult (or the Emperor Cult) was already a prominent religious element in Rome.

At the time of Paul’s writing, because of both the Hellenistic use of the word, and especially because of its use with regards to the Imperial cult -- the word euaggelion (gospel) had many meanings, especially to a Roman citizen.
In the Hellenistic and Roman language of diplomacy - the word euaggelion was used to describe “news of victory” and associated with the reward one received for being the bearer of good news. In Rome, especially with regards to the Imperial cult, the word was used to herald Empirical pronouncements from the god-Emperor.

Paul, having been born in Tarsus - a Roman citizen - would have been fully aware of how the word euaggelion would be understood by a Roman reader. For this reason we consider that as Paul begins to use the word gospel here, he understands the importance of immediately qualifying the use of this word to his Roman readers. Remember, Paul wrote this epistle before John and Luke (and possibly Mark) even penned their gospels, and certainly before Matthews Gospel enjoyed wide circulation - that is, Paul is using this word before it’s association with Christianity has been firmly established.

Paul wants to differentiate for his readers what he means by the gospel of God: he is talking about the God of the Old Testament - it is the good news of the God of the Old Testament, and not a proclamation given by a worldly, self-deified, god-emperor. Paul begins to express the good news of God as the fulfilling of Old Testament promises made by the only God - the proclamation of their fulfillment in this present day and age by the coming of the only Messiah - Jesus Christ.

In introducing himself as a servant of Jesus Christ, separated to the gospel of God, Paul immediately begins to qualify what he means - to distance his use of the word from the common use of the word at the time.

This is, I believe, is the immediate context of his remarks in verses one through five: In order to rightly identify himself to the Roman readers, Paul had to first qualify his use of a word that they were already familiar with in other contexts (euaggelion). He was Christ’s chosen ambassador to the nations, separated to the gospel of God - but if they didn’t understand what Paul meant by the gospel of God, they wouldn’t understand who Paul was claiming to be.

Paul therefore shows, in the most precise language possible, the magnitude of the gulf between the meaning of the word they were most likely familiar with, and the meaning that Paul presumes in using it.

We do well to note that Paul, in presenting himself as a servant of the legitimate “living God”, immediately articulates by what authority he uses the word.

This is Paul’s style - his experiences, as an apostle to the nations, has no doubt taught him by this time the places where a Gentile thinker is likely to find objection. We see therefore in Paul’s anticipation of objection to the use of the word “gospel” - a discerning mind behind this seemingly simple tangent.
Paul is not beginning this doctrinal masterpiece with empty, flowery, speech; but with the precision and strategy of a master planner, a precise thinker, a logical debater, and a seasoned teacher. Whether this is a brilliant but extemporaneous start, or a calculated, seasoned approach matters little - the genius of Paul’s approach is self evident to those who pause long enough to see it.

“Who is this Jesus that I brings good news about?” That is the question Paul begins to answer as he mentions that word “gospel”.

Is Jesus merely a man who has been declared to be a god - like the Roman counterfeits? Has some senate in Rome declared Jesus to be a God? If Jesus is God, how did he come to His divinity - who “declared” him God?

Jesus was not like the Emperor; He was not merely a descendant of some long ago king who named himself a deity in order to more easily facilitate political obedience. Christ’s kingdom was not of this world. It was not spurious - it didn’t spring up in a day, but has been heralded for millennia - this is not some new religion, not some new deity - this is a declaration of the oldest religion, the only true religion.

It is a declaration of the eternal purpose of God. A declaration that is going to show that God’s purpose is not random or extemporaneous; -This- good news is not some mere temporal proclamation - not just the latest word from some self proclaimed Emperor - it is news that what has been waiting since time began has come to pass - it is good news for mankind, and Paul introduces himself as a vessel chosen by God to declare this news to the Nations.

The news is from God and it concerns Jesus Christ - God’s one and only Son. But here too Paul must qualify himself - he must distinguish who this Jesus is.
Why Jesus? Why not some other guy? What is so special about Jesus? How can we be sure that this Jesus is whom He says He is? Upon what authority do we accept any information about Jesus Christ - the very incarnation of God?

Paul is answering such questions when he appeals to the prophets and the Holy Scriptures for authority. Paul begins by identifying Jesus as a descendant of David, but why does he do that? Would it really matter to a Roman citizen that some Jew could trace His lineage back to some other long dead Jewish king? Why does Paul bring king David into the mix? Does he presume all his readers in Rome are converted Jews?

Recall that Paul is establishing that God’s good news is by no means a spur-of-the-moment happenstance. Paul begins by saying that Jesus was born of the seed of King David - a statement pregnant with meaning to anyone who has studied the Old Testament scriptures, because in them we find that God has promised a Messiah from long ago from the lineage of David.

Paul identifies the Lordship of Christ both according to the flesh and also according to the Spirit of Holiness.

According to the law, Jesus (through his stepfather Joseph, as recorded in the first chapter of Matthew’s gospel) traced his legal heritage back to David through the Judean line of kings, that is, Christ was a legitimate legal heir to the Judean kingly line through his step father Joseph, though in Jeremiah 22:30 we read the curse that God pronounced on Joseph’s ancestor King Jehoiachin: “30Thus says the LORD: ‘ Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.’”

Even though Jehoiachin had children, God himself disbarred them from the throne, and so Judah’s last king was Jehoiachin’s uncle: Zedekiah. Thus, although Jesus had a legally valid claim to royalty through His stepfather Joseph, He could not ascend the throne of David according to the line of Joseph because of the curse pronounced upon Joseph’s ancestor King Jehoiachin.

Jair is really a son of Judah...In the book of Matthew, Joseph’s father is listed as Jacob. But in the book of Luke Joseph’s father is listed at Heli. The contradiction is only a valid contradiction if both genealogies are indeed describing the lineage of Christ’s stepfather Joseph.
In scripture we read of Jair who is described as a son of Manasseh. “41Also Jair the son of Manasseh went and took its small towns, and called them Havoth Jair” (Numbers 32:41) three times in scripture Jair is described as a son of Manasseh, the other two times are in Deuteronomy 3:14 and 1 Kings 4:13. Jair is called a son of Manasseh because Jair’s grandfather Hezron, although a descendant of Judah, was associated through marriage with the house of Machir who was a descendant of Manasseh. (Chronicles 2:21-23 and 7:14-15)

We see therefore that the term “son” isn’t always used in scripture to describe a physical descendant, but is sometimes used to describe one who is considered by association a member of another’s household.

Jesus, having been conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary, had no earthly father. Luke traces Christ’s lineage therefore, not through Joseph’s line, but through Mary’s. Joseph is therefore referred to here as a son of Heli - Mary’s father in the same way that Jair is referred to as a son of Manasseh.

Joseph is reckoned as a son of Heli - Mary's Father.Christ’s physical ancestors therefore, were not from the line of Joseph, but from the line of Mary. His ancestors were not from the line of Solomon, like Joseph’s ancestors had been, but from the line of Solomon’s older brother Nathan (who is not to be confused with Nathan the prophet!). Thus Christ was, according to the flesh, the son of David physically through Mary, and not the recipient of God’s curse pronounced on Jehoiachin.

In 2 Samuel 7:14-16 God promised David through the prophet Nathan (who is not to be confused with Solomon’s older brother) that one of David’s descendants would build a house for God’s name and establish God’s kingdom forever.

Solomon built God a physical temple, but the temple did not stand forever, nor did the kingdom that Solomon established, for in the very next generation Rehoboam his son lost control of the kingdom.

The house that Christ established - was not a physical house, but a spiritual temple where each believer is a “stone” that Christ himself lays in His own temple - Christ himself being the cornerstone.

Christ’s kingdom -was- established on earth during the incarnation, and even now Christ rules over this spiritual kingdom from heaven where He presently sits on a throne at the right hand of the power of God (c.f. Acts 2:30 and Luke 22:69). Scripture tells us that a day is coming when Christ’s reign will end - on that day, after the final judgment that immediately follows Christ’s return - Christ will relinquish the kingdom to God the father who will rule forevermore. We see this in 1 Corinthians 15:23-25 - “23But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.”
According to the flesh Christ was shown to be the son of David, but according to the Spirit Christ was shown to be the Son of God with Power. In the Greek the preposition is actually “in” - shown to be the Son of God in Power according to the Spirit of Holiness.

It is this same “power” that Christ sits at the right hand of (Luke 22:69). It is this same power that is ascribed to the gospel itself in verse 16. The Greek word used here (dunamiV) describes the idea of having the “ability” to do a thing. We mustn’t imagine that because the word “Dynamite” is derived from this Greek word that Paul envisioned “explosive power” when he used it. We call that a semantic anachronism when we inject into the past a meaning that is only relevant in the future. Until Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, no one would have read back into the Greek the idea of explosive energy.

The power spoken of here has to do with getting the job done. Christ was raised in power according to the Holy Spirit. He sits at the right hand of the same power even now - getting the job done.

The Holy Spirit declared that -this- Jesus whom Paul looks to in identifying himself to the Roman readers - this Jesus was the Christ - the son of God, and the declaration was made not only by prophetic words, but by power - by getting the job done - by raising Jesus from the dead.

That single act was the defining declaration from God through the Holy Spirit that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, that Jesus was indeed the fulfillment of all of God’s promises.

Christ’s earthly lineage supported his claim to be Messiah, and more than this, God’s affirmation of this claim through the resurrection from the dead settled forever the question of authority. We know that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies, not merely because they have all been fulfilled in Christ - but in particular because God raised Christ from the dead (through the Holy Spirit) as an eternal signpost declaring for all time that Jesus Christ alone is the fulfillment of God’s Old Testament promises to His people Israel.
People often want all truth to have an application. They want to hear a truth, then be shown how to apply that truth pragmatically in their daily walk. How can we apply the raising of Christ from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit to our lives?

Believe that the same “getting the job done” power that raised Christ from the dead is the power at work in you if indeed Christ is in you. If Christ is in you, he -will- get the job done. The practical application of that is assurance, not some flimsy assurance that you hang on your own feelings, but the assurance of the resurrection itself - looking to the same power that raised Christ, that declared him to be Christ - this same power is working in you to get the job done. And it will be done - not by your might - but by His.


Sunday, December 09, 2007


1 John 3:9 (Amplified Bible)Amplified Bible (AMP)Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

9 No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, for God's nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God.

Please allow me to illustrate:

At a very early age a "seed" is planted in a young child - the seed of power-lifting. As the days go by this drive to lift weights begins to emerge. It is a very strong drive. Finally he obtains a set of weights. He was driven from the inside. It was something that fit his nature.

At first he wasn't very strong, certainly not strong enough to do well in a contest; but he is driven to workout and become contest ready. He is driven...

After dedication and hard work he sees that he is now ready to compete. His first contest he only places third. That's OK though for he is young in the sport - a new lifter (the carnal Christian). With time he'll get better. He is driven...

Soon he starts capturing first place trophies. How? Well he grew stronger than he was in the early contest. Dedication and hard work paid off. Those (the Dedication and hard work) came natural to him. The "seed" was in him. He was driven...

One day though he was overtaken by an injury (overtaken in a fault or sin). His strength levels drop back down to where they were in the early days. He is no longer contest ready. His workout partners gather 'round to help him figure out a routine that will get him back on track. He does not cave in and quit. He works through the injury in an effort to get back into contest shape. He is driven...

Time passes. His strenth returns. The efforts paid off. More trophies are won...

He was driven... IT WAS HIS NATURE!!!

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Friday, December 07, 2007

You know them by what they practice…....

1 John 3:4-10 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. (5) You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. (6) No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. (7) Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. (8) Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (9) No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. (10) By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

A leading advocate of free grace theology said the following: “When one finds a consistent line of exposition and interpretation that allows him to take the words of Scripture at their face value, in other words, for what they literally say, without the inclusion of secondary assumptions and gratuitous importation, he has found exegetical gold.”

When we look at the passage above and take it at face value and literally as he suggested, what do we learn? Is it accurate to glean the following from this passage using this exegetical method?

(1) Sin is lawlessness.
(2) Jesus is sinless and came to take away sin.
(3) No one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
(4) Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil.
(5) No one born of God makes a practice of sinning.
(6) Jesus appeared to destroy the works of the devil.
(7) There are two kinds of people: children of the devil and children of God.
(8) Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God and therefore of the devil.
(9) Whoever is born of God has God’s seed abiding in him.
(10) Those born of God cannot keep on sinning
(11) The children of God are saved and the Children of the devil are not saved.

Since being born again is a divine action performed on a person by God, doesn’t this passage indicate such a person has been changed and is a new creation just as 2 Cor. 5:17 teaches? Therefore, would it then follow that all who are born again and saved respond to this change, caused by God, by not making a practice of sinning and anyone who does make a practice of sinning is of the devil, not born again, and not saved? If this is true, wouldn’t this rule out the possibility of the “carnal Christian” concept of free grace theology, that holds that a person can be saved and yet show no discipleship, obedience, sanctification, or restraint in sinning?

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Wrath of God - A Birthday Muse

December 4th, 2006.

I consider this day to be my second birthday. And considering what events surround that day, I consider this to be the only date that matters. I had quite an impressive history beforehand. Well, impressive to man's eyes. But God knew what was going on underneath, and was really using all of that to bring me to the end of my own righteousness. Which was nothing. Filthy rags. Manure.

What I experienced around that date was nothing less than the blessed terror of the Lord. It was nothing less than understanding the unmitigated wrath of God stored up for those with no Salvation from the fires of hell. I chuckle, although reservedly, at the direction I turned immediately after wailing that mournful and desperate question, "What must I DO to be saved?!?!?!?!" I went straight to the law. But I digress.

Well, maybe not, because what comfort is there in a law that I cannot keep? There was nothing but despair on every side. After MUCH struggle, after finding solace in the written works laid across my path like a trail of breadcrumbs, the arrows pointed straight to Christ. (And for this, I recommend reading Horatius Bonar's How Shall I Go to God?)

While reading TeamPyro's post today on the scariest men who ever lived, I thought about the blessedness of coming to an understanding of God's terror and wrath while here on earth. All men will one day see it, on one side of eternity or on the other. I pray that I may, in the narrow span of time I spend here on earth, have an opportunity to point out the anger of God directed at sin, and at what an absolute devastation it is. And may I then point them to the offer of life, salvation, the truly good news to those who have seen a glimpse of the terror of the Lord.

Alive in Christ

I one was rebellious, corrupted by sin,
Pursuing the devil's dark path,
oblivious, dead to the state I was in,
An object of God's dreadful wrath.

But God who is rich in compassion and love,
Not leaving my soul to the grave,
Has given me life; born again from above,
By God's sov'reign grace I've been saved.

God lifted me up to the heavenly realms
Where seated with Christ I am free;
In ages to come he might show me more grace-
So great is his kindness to me.

Since grace is the source of the life that is mine-
And faith is a gift from on high-
I'll boast in my Savior, all merit decline,
And glorify God 'til I die.

Yet now I am living with work to be done
For I am God's workmanship, too,
Created in Christ with a race to be run,
Which God has ordained me to do.

-James Montgomery Boice
"Hymns for a Modern Reformation"

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Lost Sheep - by Spurgeon

From Spurgeon's, "The Parable of the Lost Sheep"

"Who for the JOY that was set before Him He endured the cross, despising the shame."

A great sorrow was on Christ when our load of sin was laid on him, but a greater joy flashed into his mind when he thought that we were by his death, recovered from our lost estate. He said to himself, "I have taken them up upon My shoulders,and none can hurt them now, neither can they wander to destruction. I am bearing their sin, and they shall never come into condemnation. The penalty of their guilt has been laid on Me that it may never be laid on them. I am an effectual and efficient Substitute for them. I am bearing their sin, that they may never bear My Father's righteous anger.

"His love to them made it a JOY for him to feel every lash of the scourge of justice! His love to them made it a delight that the nails should pierce his hands and feet! His love to them made it a JOY for him that his heart should be broken with the absence of his Father, God. Even "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"when the depths of its woe have been sounded, will be found to have pearls of joy in its caverns. No shout of triumph can equal that cry of grief, because ourLord joyed to bear even the forsaking by his Father, for the sin of his chosen ones, whom he had loved from before the foundation of the world.

Oh, you cannot understand it except in a very feeble measure!

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Are you a true thinker?

It has been charged in a recent comment that we here at Bluecollar have a lack of true thinking. This assertion was made in the November 30 post, The Judgment Seat of Christ. This person's “true thinking” holds that some very uncomfortable consequences are awaiting saved true Christians when they reach heaven. For example, he believes the weeping and gnashing of teeth referred to in the following parable of Matthew 22 will happen to saved Christians after they are in heaven:

Matthew 22:1-14 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

What do you think? Is this parable speaking of consequences after Christians are in heaven, or is it speaking of false professing Christians who will never make it to heaven? Please feel free to answer with or without elaboration. I am really interested if there are any FGT adherents that do not agree with his premise.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Well Said Brian Hedrick - Thoughts On The Judgement Seat Of Christ

Bhedr said...
We are never going to have true joy and victory in our lives until we get away from crossless and the faulty theology that [FGT] is prescribing. Until we understand that Divine wrath and penal substitution has been satisfied at Calvary we will continue to drive in circles trying to harmonize law with grace in the FGT courts. Until we understand that all of our sin (and unfaithfulness is considered sin as well) was nailed to the cross how can we move on in joy? If we cant believe that God has sacrificed for us in completeness and in an eternal substitionary scope then how can we sacrifice for God? Can I repeat that? Unless we believe in the finished work of the cross and see that God has sacrificed for us then how can we sacrifice for God? Grace teaches us to learn of Gods faithfulness and build on our faith. Not threats of more judgment or wrath of God after this life for the Christian and weeping and gnashing of teeth when the Bible clearly states that God in his grace will wipe away all of our tears.

Truly the hymn It is Well with My Soul needs to be studied more by some of the FGracers. It is somehow not being understood. Until we see that our sins are gone and were buried 2000years ago how can we rest in Christ. [FGT]theology seems to call us to rest but in the long run it makes one restless and unthankful for the death burial and resurrection and pulls these precious truths out from underneath many believers and even begins to shipwreck faith. I cannot subscribe to it and I think it is time that some of the other FGers out there stop trying to harmonize his position out by trying to keep the peace and thereby lending further creedance to things that are simply untrue. How can we rejoice and have victory in our lives thinking that we continue to be under the wrath of God as His children? This will lead people away from the love of God... not towards it and it will lead to a legal performance trap. One that uses manipulative tactics to keep one to be obedient as opposed to the natural free course of Gods grace and love in our lives that encourages us in obedience and out of the true freeness of His grace.
December 02, 2007 12:58 AM

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