Sunday, April 13, 2014

Around the Horn

A roundup of the latest Christian news, blog post, sermons, videos, etc. that are making headlines in Christian culture this week

  • David Platt discusses the book "Heaven is for Real".


Sunday, April 06, 2014

Around the Horn

A roundup of the latest Christian news, blog post, sermons, videos, etc. that are making headlines in Christian culture this week

1. Great blog post by Elisha Galotti who ask the question Do I want to be a wonderful Christian? Or do I want Christ Himself?

2. What lessons can we learn from World Visions support and then unsupport of Gay Marriage by Jesse Johnson over at Criplegate.

3. Speaking of homosexuality, is that really the controversy at hand? Jonathan Parnell has posted an article on what the real controversy is over at Desiring God.

4. Great sermon by Gervase Charmley titled "Salvation Through an Intercessor" from Genesis chapter 19.

5. Should we really be surprised when a Mormon praises a heretical book by a Southern Baptist preacher?

6. Thom Rainer president of LifeWay published a misleading list of "twenty of the most influential evangelicals in America". Really Thom, is that helpful?

7. I've always had my suspicions of Liberty University and Benny Hinn isn't helping my suspicions any and to be honest neither does their released statement.

8. Tim Challies is doing a series on some of history's greatest false teachers. You might be surprised to learn how these false teachings are still being taught today.

9. Ligonier Ministries is giving away the audio book of R.C.Sproul’s 'The Truth of the Cross'.

10. A couple reviews of the movie 'Noah' one by Ken Ham and Denny Burk.

"Keep out of your life whatever keeps Christ out of your mind." —Doris Ann Henderson (1938-2012), my Mother in-law

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart and Surrender!

There are many within the church today who's evangelism tactics are using Revelation 3:20 to get people to say a prayer and invite Jesus into their hearts, but is this method true Biblical evangelism that leads to true Biblical salvation? Let me show you why it's not. Revelation 3:20 says "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." There are at least several reasons why using Revelation 3:20 to get people to ask Jesus into their heart is seriously flawed.

First we need to remember that context is king when interpreting Scripture and that Scripture interprets Scripture but the context in Revelation chapter three tells us that Jesus is knocking on the door of the church, and more specific the door of "the church in Laodicea" .v14 which is not only a real church but also the last and terrible state of the church age before Christ returns and not the human heart in general. Jesus is not knocking on the door of someone's heart hoping they will let Him in, but rather "the Judge is standing at the door" (James 5:9) "Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead" (2 Timothy 4:1) and what will be the state of this "lukewarm" .v16 church age when He returns? He tells us in verse 17 that it's rich, prosperous, and think that they have need of nothing but in reality they are actually wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. What a description of the modern church in which we see all around us. Remember that this is the letter to the seven churches concerning the return of Christ. Mark how Christ ends this letter to the seven churches "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’” .v22. To suggest that Christ is outside knocking on the door of someone's heart who won't let Him in is not only assuming a meaning on the text that is not there in it's original context but it does not present the omnipotent Lord of heaven and earth who "does all that He pleases." (Psalm 115:3) but rather a weak and needy Jesus who has no power to overcome your stubborn so-called free will.

Second the fact that repentance is an essential response of genuine conversion (Acts 2:38, Luke 5:32, Luke 13:3 etc.) is clear from Scripture and asking Jesus into your heart leaves out this most basic response and how can true Biblical evangelism leave out what the Bible calls a gift from God. (2 Timothy 2:25) It also leaves out the resurrection which is so crucial to Biblical salvation that you never find one public sermon in the Bible by the apostles where they fail to mention Christ resurrection. No resurrection in your gospel presentation equals no gospel.

Another reason Christ is not knocking on the door of your heart for you to let Him in is that He doesn't want to come into your old cold dead heart. For Ezekiel 36:26 tells us that He "will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you" it's the doctrine of regeneration where "one is born again" (John 3:3) and is made "a new creation" in Christ Jesus where "The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17) You see asking Jesus into your heart just adds Jesus to what you already got going on and that's not Biblical salvation, for you "were dead in trespasses and sins;" (Ephesians 2:1) and you need to "be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). Also this view places man as the final decision maker of his own destiny and not Christ as the Creator of this "new creation". Salvation is a miracle brought about by a Sovereign God, for men's hearts are "in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." (Proverbs 21:1) The call to repent and believe the gospel is not a passive plea by a Jesus who would never go where He is not asked in hopes that He get's to have a personal relationship with you. No, it's a declaration of terms and conditions from the Almighty Merciful King of Heaven of your surrender that He commands you to obey, and you don't get to negotiate these terms. Your response to these terms to repent and believe the gospel is either, "He that believeth on him is not condemned:" or "he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18)

So what's the fellowship which Christ promises to the churches? It's simple it's a call for the church to be vigilant like the wise virgins in Matthew 25, to have our "flasks" .v4 full of His grace, and our "lamps trimmed" with His Word which gives "light to my path" (Psalm 119:105) and to be clothed in His righteousness "the righteousness of faith" (Romans 4:13) so that we don't "walk naked" (Revelation 16:15) and be ready for the coming of the "bridegroom" so that we may go "in with him to the marriage feast" .v10 and "as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you." (Isaiah 62:5) So press on brothers "toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

They are Scriptural

"Man’s entire apostasy and death in sin, so that he cannot save himself, and God’s entire supremacy, so that He saves whom He will, are doctrines exceedingly distasteful to human pride. But they are Scriptural." —Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

Monday, June 03, 2013

That's Not God

"Idolatrous views of God are rampant within current evangelicalism. I find a God who is not immutable, who is not infinite, who is not holy, and who is not sovereign. Such a god is simply not God. It is an idol." —R. C. Sproul

Monday, May 20, 2013

Say One Thing

They ain't teachin'
what their preachin'
I don't fall for that

Say one thing, do another
Gotta find a place, need a brother


Monday, February 11, 2013

Paganism in the Church

A must hear sermon by brother Voddie Baucham.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Church Signs

"To tell the Christ-rejector that God loves him is to cauterize his conscience, as well as to afford him a sense of security in his sins. The fact is, that the love of God, is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs." —A. W. Pink (1886–1952

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Exposing The Chameleon

That's some scary stuff Mr. Warren!

Friday, November 09, 2012

That's Not Prayer!

"Any prayers that are self-consuming, self-indulgent, self- aggrandizing; any prayers that seek whatever I want no matter what God wants; any prayers that suggest God must deliver because I have demanded it—those are prayers that take His name in vain. Such praying is an egregious sin against the nature of God, against the will of God, and against the Word of God.

"Name it, claim it" prayers; the notion that God wants you always healthy, wealthy, prosperous, and successful; and lists of selfish requests are all quite at odds with the spirit of Jesus’ model prayer. Such requests are expressly excluded from the many promises that God will hear and answer our prayers (James 4:3). The faulty belief that underlies all such praying is no small error. It is rooted in a serious misunderstanding about the nature of God.

Because prayer is an act of worship, to offer a prayer based on such a heinous perversion of God’s character is tantamount to worshiping a false god. To put it bluntly, when someone presents God with a wish list rooted in greed, materialism, or other expressions of pure self-interest, then demands that God deliver the goods as if He were a genie, that is no prayer at all. It is an act of blasphemy. It is as abominable as the crassest form of pagan worship." —John MacArthur

Monday, September 03, 2012

But You Still Support Obama?

Let me see if I understand this right, you profess that you are a Christian and love God and His Word but you also support President Obama for re-election who has openly endorsed homosexual marriage and has gone as far as to even celebrate it by making the month of June LGBT Pride Month, but God's Word says they "have committed an abomination;" (Leviticus 20:13) and that it's unnatural (Romans 1:26-27) and those who practice such things are "wicked" and "will not inherit the kingdom of God?" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), but you still support Obama? Barack Obama is also the most pro-abortion President ever to hold office. He even refused to support the Born Alive Infant Protection Act which would have protected innocent children born in the process of an abortion from being killed after birth which shouldn't bother a pro-abortionist who has no problem murdering a baby in the womb. But the Bible says that God "hates... hands that shed innocent blood," (Proverbs 8:16-17), but you still support Obama? But some still say that they are voting for Obama because they believe “he is better for the economy” (a ridiculous statement IMHO); remember my Christian friend that "the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:10) and if that is your primary reason for voting for Obama then your love of money has blinded you to the more pressing issues affecting our nation. Now I am not trying to tell you how to vote but if you remain committed to President Obama then please stop calling yourself a Christian because no true Christian could ever endorse such sinful behavior with a clear conscience which God has clearly condemned in His Word. My final word to professing Christian Obama supporters is “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,” (Isaiah 5:20) for you will be held accountable to God on judgment day for supporting a man who’s tract record is clearly opposed to the will of the Living God.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Habitual Tardiness

A longtime pet peeve of mine has been the lack of appreciation regarding punctuality, especially as it relates to arriving on time for church services. I'm not talking about the occasional lateness due to some unforeseen circumstance but the habitual practice of being late due to a complete lack of concern for arriving on time to worship with the saints. A lack of punctuality is a clear lack of respect for others, first it does not give "honor" or "preference to one another" (Romans 12:10) and it neither "esteem others better than himself." (Philippians 2:3) including our Lord Jesus Christ, Who promises to honor us with His presence when "two or three are gathered together" (Matthew 18:20 I know it's out of context but you get the point) in His name. But I wonder how many of us who practice such sluggishness on the Lord's Day are always prompt to their jobs or a doctor's appointment and still think they are putting Christ first?

The habitual practice of tardiness often robs us of opportunities because it does not communicate faithfulness or trustworthiness. Consider the missed opportunity to visit with the brethren before the service or class and share in prayer request or the first hymn sung to our Lord, and not to mention the more obvious when visitors arrive who often are never late and the impression it must leave on them when the class or congregation is distracted with a late arrival. For how can one expect to be seen “faithful in much” when they can’t even be “faithful in a very little”? (Luke 16:10) And how can one expect to be trusted if they are seen as unfaithful?

Arriving late is also frustrating, imagine the amount of time the Sunday School teacher or Pastor spends preparing all week to feed the sheep with the Word of God and then one comes in late without even an apology can be very frustrating not only for the Pastor/Teacher but the class/congregation and may prompt resentment towards the offending party who is clearly not communicating a “good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21) attitude in serving the Lord with the brethren and reeks of selfishness and pride.

To continue in a pattern of tardiness is sinful because it expresses a lack of love for others and is just plain rude, and “love is not rude” (1 Corinthians 13:5). If others perceive that we are unloving or rude then our reputation as a Christian will suffer. "A good name is better than precious ointment" (Ecclesiastes 7:1). Our lack of punctuality is neither making a good name for ourselves or a good reputation as a Christian. Now I have heard those who say well “better late than never”; and that may suffice for worldlings, but “better never late” should be the Christian mindset. As Christian we should not be known for always being late; it’s a bad testimony to our Lord Jesus Christ, and it does not honor Him or glorify Him. Punctuality should always characterize the servant of Christ.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What Christians Taught Me On FaceBook

Today the Christian landscape can be very confusing especially if your on facebook, just this week alone I have been taught that I can "give God control", but the Bible says "He does according to His will in the Host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, "What hast Thou done" (Daniel 4:35). I've also been taught that I need to "trust myself", but the Bible says to "lean not unto thine own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5) because my "heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:8-10). It also seems that being "happy" is now the greatest virtue a Christian can obtain, but the Bible says "Be ye holy; for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:16) I know it's hard to believe but apparently there is "no absolute truth", wait a minute that's an absolute statement. Some Christians are teaching that we are "all children of God" but Jesus said "Ye are of your father the devil" (John 8:44). I've noticed that cussing and drinking have become very popular within some Christian circles but the Bible says "From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so" (James 3:10) and that "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise" (Proverbs 20:1). Christians also seem to think we are all good people, but the Bible says "none is good" (Luke 18:19) and Jesus called us "evil" (Matthew 7:11). Success and self-esteem are popular topics among Christians today as well but the success they speak of is a path to a worldly success not the Joshua 1:8 path and self-esteem is not the solution it's the problem for it is the very essence of unbelief and pride. And the number one thing that Christians promote on facebook more than any other is "judge not" (John 7:1) but the Bible also says to "judge righteous judgment." (John 7:24). So the message I hear coming from Christians today is that "I'm in control, I can do it, do what ever makes me happy, I'm a good person, trust myself and I'll have success and feel good about myself, never make judgments and God will be pleased with me." Folks that's the same message of the world and Christians are now so drunk with this false gospel that they actually hate messages like this one that expose it's lies. "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light" (John 3:20).

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Discerning Contemporary Church Slang

1. Wear What You Want / Be Comfortable
What if I feel comfortable in a thong? This kind of talk is usually a dead giveaway for an easy believism gospel, but not always. Actually addressing what one should or shouldn't wear speaks louder than if they had just not mentioned it all. (Matthew 6:31) "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?" If Christ doesn't make clothing an issue why are contemporary preachers’s doing it? Also the words "casual" and "Christianity" just seems like an oxymoron to me.

2. Unchurchy Church
Really, an unchurchy church? Going to an unchurchy church is equal to going to an unhospital hospital and getting treatment for an unbroken broke arm. While you’re at the unchurchy church maybe you can get unsaved saved or unbaptized baptized, though it is likely that you will hear the unword word at the unchurchy church. Wake up people for "The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going" (Proverbs 14:15). Is not this kind of language the very thing Paul warns Timothy about in 1 Timothy 3:8 that deacons be "not doubletongued"? So just be warned "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers," (Titus 1:10).

3. We Design Our Worship Services / Practical Dynamic Worship Experience
Oh, your church service isn't designed by God? Be sure that if they are taking credit for it then God's not in it. Any so called church that promotes its music worship service over everything else is a clear sign that it is an emotionally driven church that has elevated their experience over the Word of God. "And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed" (2 Peter 1:18-19). What does practical worship look like as opposed to unpractical worship? How about true worship vs. false worship, or maybe that's too divisive. That's the whole point; they want to make you think that the church down the road just doesn't worship as dynamically as they do, in a word it's nothing short of marketing the church to draw in the most consumers. It's the same thing the retail stores do to get your money, if that doesn't raise any suspicions then you’re just not thinking discriminately. I am always skeptical of church's that only describe worship as the music event, this is dangerously close to what the Jews had done by saying "Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship" rather than in "spirit and in truth", all of life is to be worship of Christ not just the musical/praise aspect of a worship service.

4. Your Best Life
If the words "Best Life" appear anywhere in a church advertisement you can be sure it's not a Biblical church even if they say they are, it's a deception, maybe unknowingly but a deception none the less. The Christian life presented in the Bible is one of self-denial and self-crucifixion (Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23, Mark 8:34), just read the book of Acts or just read the historical tradition of the eleven apostle’s eventful deaths or John Foxe’s “Book of Martyr’s”. “You’re Best Life Now” message doesn’t sell in a third world country for they have experienced the realities of life; it’s only a western cultural phenomenon. What’s ironic is that these same church’s proudly say they are about being real, how far from being real is the message of “Your Best Life Now”.

5. Connect or Plugged In
Well the first thing most contemporary church's want you to connect is your debt card to their automated online giving and isn't going to church and Sunday School connecting with other believers, or could I just friend them on FaceBook and still be connected? I have found that what contemporary church's really want you to plug-in to are the needed places of service regardless if you have the desire or gifts to serve in the area they have placed you in, this is not just a contemporary church problem but I have found it to be rampant within good church’s as well. Too often I have seen new believers get pushed into areas of church service where they are neither called nor lead with little or no training. Too many times I have seen a "novice" put in the place of leadership where chaos soon becomes the norm. Again I believe these terms to be deceptive talk in order to keep people busy in the church, like a form of control rather than shepherding and leading the flock.

6. Traditional and Contemporary Worship Services
Any church that says they offer two services one traditional and one contemporary is a church that is all ready divided, and a "house divided against itself shall not stand:" (Matthew 12:25)

7. Core Values
This is just a postmodern contemporary church term that means we don't have a doctrinal statement! If you are attending a church that does not have a church doctrinal statement then stop attending that church ASAP, because without a doctrinal statement anything goes. (Titus 1:9) "give instruction in sound doctrine".

8. Life Coach
Again, another postmodern term that simply means someone who wants Senior Pastor Pay without Senior Pastor Responsibilities; you know the guy who likes to give out advice but doesn’t want the blame if it goes bad. People don't need a life coach to guide them through the moral choices in order to win at the game of life, for they are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) and need to be born again with sound instruction in Biblical truth for the saved and lost alike both need a pastor who will preach the Word of God to them for "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14).

9. Relevant
What they really mean is culturally relevant or better yet what's popular, not what's Biblical which is always relevant. The problem is what maybe culturally relevant to me could be completely irrelevant to the guy sitting next to me, which would actually make their attempt at relevance irrelevant to some. Cultural relevance is not transcendent and does not sound the same wherever you take it, and must be changed depending on its relevance again this is closely related to consumer marketing. Whereas the Word of God cross’s all cultures, races, generations, traditions and never sounds like "a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." (1 Corinthians 13:1) for “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: “ (Psalm 19:7).

10. Missional
Being “missional” is just another word for pragmatism, in other words whatever the church needs to do in order to engage the lost community with a view to winning them to Christ, just as long as it works for our predetermined positive outcome then it should be accepted and implemented. The problem I have with this is when it affects the worship service with worldly concepts, for the church is a gathering of believers who's relationship with God is covenantal by nature and unbelievers have no part with that (at least not yet) and we should in no way adjust our worship or discipleship methods in order to please the unbelieving with hopes of drawing them to Christ, that's God's work for "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" (John 6:44). If we make our worship services look more like a rock concert or a comedy club to win people to Christ we only make our efforts less effective and may actually hinder unbelievers coming to true faith in Christ.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

10 Consequences of Leaving a Biblical Church

I know that there are many biblical reasons for leaving a church that are just and right, and some are called to other areas of ministry or the Lord may replant you to some other location in order to serve a particular need. That's not what I am attempting to address here, but I want to look at what are some (not all) of the unattended consequences of leaving a biblical church for unbiblical reasons?

1. It Grieves Your Pastor And Does Not Profit You.
Leaving a church for unbiblical reason's simply breaks your Pastor's heart, and if you're leaving has grieved your pastor then that's not good for you. Hebrews 13:17 "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."

2. It Has A Negative Impact On Your Present Church Community.
Have you not considered the devastating impact that leaving may have on the ministry at your present church? God has placed you in a solid biblical church where you are needed for the work of Christ and your spiritual growth. This is not the time to cut and run but for devoted commitment to church fellowship and active ministry in your local church instead of hindering that work by leaving. Philippians 2:4 is the model of Christian community we are to follow by looking "on the things of others", not leaving others.

3. It's A Poor Example Of Commitment And Faithfulness.
What kind of commitment are you teaching your children, not just about church commitment, but commitment in general? Do you hold this same view of commitment in your marriage? Then why do you allow it into your thinking of the church (Ephesians 5:22-33 / Loving The Local Church).

4. It Does Not Model Biblical Perseverance.
If you can't hang in a biblical church now, what makes you think you will persevere in your faith when "great persecution against the church" comes? Why do Christians no longer see any value in remaining "steadfast under trials"? (James 1:12)

5. It Breaks Christian Fellowship.
No matter how hard you may try and communicate your love for your former church members, you will have spoken to them louder by your actions. Just imagine how difficult it would be after leaving your wife to live with another woman and then trying to communicate how much you still love her? It just doesn't work without reconciliation.

6. It Promotes Selfishness.
No other way around it, if it isn't a biblical reason then nothing is left but your personal preferences and if you leave based on your personal preferences then you have elevated your preferences over the church which Christ died for and that's selfish. Surely you don't think that the folks that stay faithful to their church don't have any personal preferences? Of course they do, but have you ever thought that maybe they have chosen to die to those preferences to the glory of Christ? Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."

7. It Diminishes Your Christian Witness.
Just consider what kind of an impact leaving your church will have on your unsaved family and friends. What kind of message will they see about Christ and the church through your easy exit? You must realize that as a Christian whatever you do will be seen as positive or negative by the community. Is it any wonder that unsaved people have such a low opinion of church when so many Christians display this same low view by hopping from church to church? Pastor's who eagerly accept you into their fellowship knowing you are coming from a biblical church are not to be trusted, they do not have your best interest at heart.

8. It Does Not Edify The Church.
1 Corinthians 14:12 "seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church." If you’re not looking to serve and edify your present church what makes you think you can serve and edify your next church? That is presumptuous! Leaving a church for unbiblical reasons does not "maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love" (Ephesians 4:16), it actually has a negative effect on the church.

9. It Reveals Your Discontented Heart.
1 Timothy 6:6 "But godliness with contentment is great gain" even in an imperfect church! Learn to be content where God has placed you, troubles will come and go in the church, just trust Christ to lead the church and don't get all bent out of shape about every little thing that's wrong in your church. Learn to take the good with the bad, for "shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" (Job 2:10).

10. It Hinders The Sanctification Process Or Worse.
There are no perfect church's, so running from one imperfect church to another imperfect church will at best stunt your spiritual growth and at worst may lead to apostasy. 1 John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."

"The Lord esteems the communion of his Church so highly that he counts as traitor and apostate from Christianity anyone who arrogantly leaves any Christian society, provided it cherishes the true ministry of the Word and sacraments." —John Calvin (1509-1564)