Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Emerging Bridges

In one of the latest podcast by the White Horse Inn which is a nationally syndicated radio talk show hosted by Michael Horton, Rod Rosenbladt, Kim Riddlebarger and Ken Jones where they recently tackled the subject of The Emergent Church Movement on the air. I think it's a must listen because this movement is coming to a church near you soon; if it's not already there. In this show they play clips of interviews of people attending the latest Emergent Conference held in San Diego. Beware some are a bit scary like the one around the 25:00 minute mark where they ask one of the attendees "what does he think is the biggest problem in the church today", his answer made my head spin. The scariest thing about his answer was that I recently heard a pastor use some of the exact same language in his sermon.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Profane Monsters

Sometimes at work I am still caught off guard by the profane and vulgar talk that comes out of the mouth of people, I know it shouldn't because they are lost and unregenerate; but I still wonder what pleasure they seek to find in speaking such things and what a terrible condition their soul must be in that their own words constantly condemn themselves. It amazes me that today we have so called preachers within the Emergent Church that actually swear from the pulpit in order that they may be relative to the culture just stupefies me. Oh what a reproach this must bring to the name of Christ. I found this little gem by Thomas Boston on the subject of Profanity and oh how preachers and men in general should heed his words.

Which of your senses does swearing and cursing gratify? If it gratifies your ears, it can only be by the noise it makes against the heavens. Though you had a mind to give up yourselves to all manner of profanity and sensuality, there is so little pleasure that can be strained out of these sins of swearing, that we must needs conclude, your love to them, in this case, is a love to them for themselves, a devilish unhired love, without any prospect of profit or pleasure from them otherwise. If any shall say, these are monsters of men—be it so; yet, alas! the world is full of such monsters; they are to be found almost everywhere. Allow me to say, they must be admitted as the mouth of the whole unregenerate world against heaven, Romans 3:14, "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." Ver. 19, "Now we know, that whatever things the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." Thomas Boston (1676-1732)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Blurring The Boundaries

At the heart of the demise of gospel preaching is what may have begun as a subtle shift. In the Reformation day, evangelical preachers preached for conversions. They believed the lost were truly lost and powerless to do anything about their wretched condition. The only hope was the grace of God through the gospel to convert sinners. Today we have gone from belief in conversions through gospel preaching to “decisions for Jesus.” This seemingly subtle shift is actually a major chasm that is as deep and wide as the chasm between heaven and hell.

If this shocks some people that may be what is needed. In most gospel presentations today you will not hear the gospel. You will hear stories about people who had made decisions for Jesus and how much better their lives are for it. Who Jesus is, is never explained. Why do we need Jesus? Is it to find meaning in life that we are now missing, or to make our life better and more fulfilled. Today we do not hear about the resurrection. We do not hear about the blood atonement. We do not hear about the demands of the Law or the promise of the gospel. But every one is given an opportunity to make a decision for Jesus. What does that mean to make a decision for Jesus?

My point is not to criticize the motives of those who organize such events or the many others who approach evangelism in the same way. I know many of these people believe that they are truly using Biblical methods to reach the lost. However, well-motivated or not, there is a huge difference between the gospel preached by our Lord, and His apostles, and the reformers vs the idea of “making a decision for Jesus.” With that said I know that some people are converted through these type of efforts. But it is buried under the many layers of activities, programs, and evangelical culture, those who get involved eventually may find out who Jesus is, what His claims are, their sinfulness, and their need for the blood atonement, and they may eventually be converted. But the conversion of sinners is being pushed to the background so that a user-friendly Christianity is all that is apparent, and the effect is so very dangerous as we invite the world in and re-label them Christians without giving them the basic fundamentals of the Gospel message blurring the boundaries between the wheat and tares, and in doing so a false sense of salvation has been put in place when in reality they have not been delivered from error to truth.

Romans 10:1-3 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Excerpts taken from an audio sermon delivered by John MacArthur at Grace Community Church titled "Deliverance: From Error to Truth--Part 1" you can view the entire transcript here or order the audio GC 80-222 here.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Blessed Assurance

This morning me and my brother in Christ Brodioi were discussing the doctrine of assurance and what a wonderful truth this is to have the assurance of salvation in Christ. Me and Brodioi are always listening to Dr. John MacArthur and sometimes we play different sermons and books off one another to the point that the providence of God can clearly be seen at work in both of our lives. So with that I want to share what I read this week as a prelude to our discussion in a book by Horatius Bonar on the subject of assurance or as he puts it certainty.

He who remains in this uncertainty remains a burdened and weary man. He who is contented with this uncertainty is contented with misery and danger. He who clings to this uncertainty as a right thing, can have no pretensions to the name of son, child, or saint of God: for in that uncertainty is there any feature of resemblance to the son or the saint; anything of the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father; any likeness to the filial spirit of the beloved Son of God?

He who resolves to remain in this uncertainty is a destroyer of his own soul; and he who tries to persuade others to remain in this uncertainty is a murderer of souls. He who does his best to make himself comfortable without the knowledge of his reconciliation and relationship to God, is a manifest unbeliever; and he who tries to induce others to be comfortable without this knowledge is something worse; if worse can be. That there are many among professing Christians who have not this knowledge, is a painful fact; that there are some who, instead of lamenting this, make their boast of it, is a fact more painful still; that there are even some who proclaim their own uncertainty in order to countenance others in it, is a fact the most painful of all.

Thus the questions about assurance resolve themselves into that of the knowledge of our relationship to God. To an Arminian, who denies election and the perseverance of the saints, the knowledge of our present reconciliation to God might bring with it no assurance of final salvation; for, according to him, we may be in reconciliation today, and out of it tomorrow; but to a Calvinist there can be no such separation. He who is once reconciled is reconciled for ever; and the knowledge of filial relationship just now is the assurance of eternal salvation. Indeed, apart from God's electing love, there can be no such thing as assurance. It becomes an impossibility.
Excerpt taken from "The Everlasting Righteousness" by Horatius Bonar first published 1874, Banner of Truth 1993

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Quote of The Day

"Of what value is the grace that I profess to have received if it does not dramatically change the way that I live? If it doesn't change the way that I live, it will never change my eternal destiny." C. H. Spurgeon

Lost Hymns

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe, Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe, And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Words by Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spir­it­u­al Songs, 1707. Charles Wes­ley re­port­ed­ly said he would give up all his other hymns to have writ­ten this one.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Gospel

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

1Cor. 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Acts 4:10-12 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

2 Cor. 5:17-21 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Rom. 1:16-17 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stamp of Approval

I recently heard a worship pastor say quote: "God is not concerned with putting his stamp of approval on our worship" Oh really? I bet he can't back that up with scripture!

God will not accept the worship of a false god, nor will He accept the worship of the true God if offered in the wrong way. Why? Because the worship of the true God is very specifically established in Scripture, along with the proper mode and manner.

God will not accept worship that is offered to Him in an unacceptable manner. It’s unacceptable to reduce God to an image, a material representation, an idol, or anything that is a result and product of one’s own thinking. I often hear people say, “I worship God as I perceive Him to be.” Well, if your definition of God doesn’t square with the Word of God, your worship is unacceptable-even though you may identify it with the true God. Exodus 32

God will not accept self-styled, self-invented modes of worship. We are not to worship God on our own terms; we are to worship Him according to the terms prescribed in Scripture. Lev. 10:1-2

God will not be handled at the whim of man in a self-styled way-no matter how good the intentions. 2 Sam. 6:1-9

God isn’t interested in all the holy hocus-pocus that goes on in so many “Christian” churches where the traditions of men have been substituted for the commandments of God. God is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth-not through images, rituals, or liturgies. John 4:23

If you worship false gods, or if you worship the true God reduced to some kind of image, or if you worship the true God in a self-styled way, or if you worship the true God in the right way with the wrong attitude-it’s unacceptable and will effect your destiny.

Excerpts taken from a sermon preached by John MacArthur titled "True Worship, Part 2" Tape GC 2005

Monday, February 12, 2007

Quote of The Day

"Divine truth is more important than anything else." - John MacArthur

Truth or Unity?

In 1887 C. H. Spurgeon was concerned with the rapid descent away from the teachings of the old Calvinistic doctrines, thus they became more simplistic in their preaching. A man-centered theology frequently took the place of the great truths of the gospel, and the sermons became more and more Christless. In March of that year Spurgeon published the first of two articles entitled "The Down Grade" in his monthly magazine called The Sword and the Trowel. In August of that same year The Sword and the Trowel carried an article by Spurgeon entitled "Another Word Concerning the Down-Grade." this is an excerpt of that article which appears towards the end of the article.

"It now becomes a serious question how far those who abide by the faith once delivered to the saints should fraternize with those who have turned aside to another gospel. Christian love has its claims, and divisions are to be shunned as grievous evils; but how far are we justified in being in confederacy with those who are departing from the truth? It is a difficult question to answer so as to keep the balance of the duties. For the present it behooves believers to be cautious, lest they lend their support and countenance to the betrayers of the Lord. It is one thing to overleap all boundaries of denominational restriction for the truth’s sake: this we hope all godly men will do more and more. It is quite another policy which would urge us to subordinate the maintenance of truth to denominational prosperity and unity. Numbers of easy-minded people wink at error so long as it is committed by a clever man and a good-natured brother, who has so many fine points about him. Let each believer judge for himself; but, for our part, we have put on a few fresh bolts to our door, and we have given orders to keep the chain up; for, under colour of begging the friendship of the servant, there are those about who aim at robbing the Master."
Excerpt taken from "Another Word Concerning the Down-Grade" by C. H. Spurgeon which first apperead in the August 1887 Sword and Trowel

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Founder's Week '07

For those who are not aware, it is Founder's Week 2007 at the Moody Bible Institute and it is well underway and this years theme is entitled Legacies of Grace. Some of the speakers are Michael Easley, Alistair Begg, John MacArthur, Haddon Robinson and more. You can visit the link here to stream some of the sermons preached so far. I highly recommend listening to Haddon Robinson's sermon that was given on Wednesday evening from the book of Ecclesiastes, very humbling. So be sure to take time to pray for this event that God may use this time to change the lives of the hearer's and encourage the flock to continue to grow in grace and peace.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Means Matter

In the closing chapters of W.M. P. Farley's book "Outrageous Mercy" he covers the foolishness of God's Wisdom and I found this quote to be very profound for today's church and all should sit up and take notes.

Understanding God's wisdom is also important because it saves us from pragmatism. Pragmatism is the idea that whatever works is right. In other words, the ends justify the means. For example, if modern business management and marketing principles help us reach the lost, they must be good. If psychology helps people feel better about themselves, we should recommend it. But the wisdom that appeared at the cross speaks otherwise. The means matter greatly to God, whether they get results or not. The proclamation of the law, our sinfulness, God's holiness, and justification by faith alone, rather than contemporary business marketing strategies, are the means that please God. God is only glorified when we attain his ends with his means. To know his means we must be diligent students of the Bible. In the long run, God does not bless what is not built with his wisdom.

Excerpt taken from WM. P. Farley, Outrageous Mercy: Rediscover the Radical Nature of Christianity (Baker: Grand Rapids, MI) 2004. Page 137-138.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ultimate Hate Crime

I see on the news from time to time this subject called "Hate Crime" I wonder how in the world is one crime considered hate while another crime might be considered a "Love Crime" or even a "Likeable Crime"? Crime is crime, it's breaking the law, it's one who is caught in the very act of practicing lawlessness. I believe that all crimes are "Hate Crimes" and I am sure some physco-analyst will argue with me saying that "Hate Crimes" are violent crimes, hate speech or vandalism, motivated by feelings of enmity against an identifiable social group. Or that "Hate Crimes" differ from regular crimes because they are motivated by economic gain or personal animosity. Well they do have one thing right they are motivated by feelings of enmity, enmity against God. For you see all crime is sin because every crime committed are ultimately acts against God and will fall under one of the Ten Commandants of tho shall not, and since fallen humanity rejects the God of the Bible and hates His Laws; one can ultimately see that all crimes are "Hate Crimes" towards God. You see the unregenerate person is estranged from God, they hate God and "There is no fear of God" (Rom. 3:18) in them. They are by nature "children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3) and "alienated and enemies" (Colossians 1:21) of God. Jesus said in John 15:24 "If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father." It's quite clear that anyone who rejects Christ hates Him and the Father and that's the ultimate "Hate Crime".

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Quote of the Day

"The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the Church...grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church. He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds of the devil." -- Leonard Ravenhill

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What's In a Name? Part 2

I don't know why these video's bother me so much, I guess because they seem geared at mocking Christians and in particular the name "Christian". A Pharisaical attitude comes to mind when I watch these videos, you know; that smug, better than thou mentality that looks down on another brother who maybe hasn't grown in Grace enough to see the error of his ways yet. Galatians 3:3 comes to mind that says "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" I am neither compelled to pull down a fellow Christian because he has chosen to be called a Christ Follower instead of a Christian, nor do I agree with all the ways that Christian's conduct themselves, but I would just like to point out that for nearly 2000 years the name Christian has been hated and loved by many, but never has it been hated, despised, or even looked down on by those who claim the name of Christ until now. I would like to let Horatius Bonar give you some insight into the title "Christian" and why we should want this title bestowed upon us for all eternity and how to live up to it.

It is for you who are called by the name of Christ that these pages are written, that you may be reminded of what God expects of you, and of what your name commits you to.

It is a great thing to be a Christian. The very name is a noble one, beyond all the noble names of earth. The thing itself is inconceivably blessed and glorious. To say, 'I am a Christian,' is to say, 'I belong to God's nobility; I am of the peerage of heaven.

'Much, then, is expected of you. Do not disgrace the old family name. Do nothing unworthy of Him who represents you in heaven, and whom you represent on earth. He is faithful to you; be you so to Him. Let men know what a Lord and Master you serve. Be His witnesses; be His mirrors; be His living epistles. Let Him speak through you to the world. Let your life tell your fellow-men what He is, and what He is to you. Speak well of Him to men, as He speaks well of you to God. He has honoured you by giving you His name; He has blessed you by conferring on you sonship, and royalty, and an eternal heritage: see that you do justice to His love, and magnify His greatnesss.

Let your light shine. Do not obstruct it, or hide it, or mingle darkness with it. 'Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee' (Isaiah 60:1). It is the light of love that you have received; let it shine. It is the light of truth; let it shine. It is the light of holiness; let it shine. And if you ask, How am I to get the light, and to maintain it in fulness? I answer, 'Christ shall give you light' (Ephesians 5:14). There is light enough in Him who is the light of the world. 'The Lamb is the light thereof' (Revelation 21:23). There is no light for man but from the Lamb. It is the cross, the cross alone, that lights up a dark soul and keeps it shining, so that we walk in light as He is in the light; 'for God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.

'Be true to Him who loved you, and washed you from your sins in His own blood. He deserves it at your hands. It is the least that you can do for Him.
Excerpt taken from "Follow the Lamb" by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)

Hold Fast

Sometimes I am still so amazed at writing's that took place so long ago, and how insightful they really are for today. Take this one for example, it's like Horatius Bonar wrote it yesterday concerning what is going on in our church's across America right now.

Beware of changeableness; be not carried about with diverse and strange doctrines: it is a bad sign of a man when he is frequently shifting his ground and adopting new opinions. 'It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace' (Hebrews 13:9); and it is good to hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end (Hebrews 3:14). The 'righteousness of God' was that which you began with, and you found it an ample covering and a sufficient resting-place. God's reckoning your sin to Christ, and His righteousness to you was joy and peace, when you found the burden of your grief too great for you to bear. Never let go your hold of this truth. Continue to rejoice in this blessed exchange. Let the righteousness of the Righteous One be your daily covering.

When a man gets wearied of what is old, and is always catching hold of what is new, it looks as if he had been beguiled from the simplicity that is in Christ, and had lost his relish for the things of Christ; nay, almost as if he had never been 'rooted and grounded in love.' Love of novelties has been the shipwreck of many a soul. 'Some new thing' is the craving not of the men of Athens only, but of many in the Church of God. They are restless; and are carried about with diverse and strange doctrines. Old truths get tame and stale (Ephesians 4:14; Hebrews 13:9; 1 John 4:1). Take care of 'itching ears' (2 Timothy 4:3), and of 'heaping to yourselves teachers' (2 Timothy 4:3).
Excerpt taken from "Follow the Lamb" by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)