Friday, December 31, 2010
Teach me to behold my creator, His ability to save, His arms outstretched, His heart big for me.
May I confide in His power and love, Commit my soul to Him without reserve, Bear His image, observe His laws, pursue His service, And be through time and eternity A monument to the efficacy of His grace, A trophy of His victory.
I love these Puritan prayers. They reveal the bigness of God, the heinousness of sin, and commitment to holiness. I long that I may pray more in this fashion and that other pastors may model this kind of prayer for the people in the churches.
Let us remember what this Puritan prayed:
1. Work repentance in my soul (again!),
2. Represent sin in all its odious colours that I may hate (yes hate) it,
3. Teach me to behold my great God and Creator,
4. Cause me to confide in His power and love
5. Make me a trophy of His grace and of His victory.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
"When one makes an Old Testament story the base text for a message, the theme of the message should derive from that text, not somewhere else. Though purporting to explain what an Old Testament story means, a preacher will sometimes ignore the point of the story in its original literary setting and instead impose an entirely different theme upon it. . . . To be truly biblical we need to be faithful to the text's literary context" (Robert B. Chisholm, From Exegesis to Exposition: A Practical Guide to Using Biblical Hebrew [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998], 222-23).
Monday, December 27, 2010
1. study and take my theological german exam,
2. write some articles on the missing feature in the church today, namely, the gospel,
3. preach Ephesians 6.10-20 part 3 on the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God,
4. preach Psalm 87: glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion city of our God,
5. take one of our singers at church out to dinner at a historic restaurant in downtown LA,
6. finish reading through the gospel of John and the book of Revelation before Jan 1, 2011,
7. continue reading (in advance) for my 2 PhD classes this Fall (OT hermeneutics and exegetical method and NT backgrounds),
8. most importantly, take my wife and son out for our family date where we can get *cheap* dinner and Monday-night football at at the same time!
Doable? Only with God's amazing grace.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
And in conclusion . . .
The Bible does not depend on archaeology for its authority. It is authoritative because God is the author. But archaeology can help interpret, illuminate, and validate God’s Word. It’s encouraging to know archaeological discoveries support biblical facts.
The Lord answered that a few days ago when I talked on the phone with a man who was just released from prison. He grew up in the church; he knows about 'God' and Jesus but the gospel most definitely has not gripped his heart.
So I had an opportunity to talk on the phone with him for about 5 minutes. God gave me the words to say and provided a blessed opportunity to present the entire gospel to this young man and "command" (*note I didn't invite*) him to turn from his wicked ways that would only lead him to the Lake of Fire (which I said) and to turn in saving faith and repentance to Christ who is eternally satisfying and abundantly loving toward those who repent.
Yes, God does answer prayer. I shared the gospel with someone this Christmas season! Now I've been praying that God would penetrate his hard heart and that the gospel would convict him of his sins so that he would believe in Christ and be saved.
And yes, I believe that God does answer prayer.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
by RC Sproul Jr.
That there is a deep and profound chasm that separates believing in the total depravity of man and our own understanding of the depth and scope of our own sin is a potent sign of the depth and scope of our own sin. “Total depravity” is a true and sound biblical doctrine about how the fall has impacted mankind. We are sinful in every part of our being and utterly unable, precisely because we are unwilling, to embrace the work of Christ on our behalf unless He changes us first. Because we are totally depraved, however, we see this as a doctrine about man, rather than an actual self-description. We distinguish between the problems of “man” and our own problems. It is safe to speak ill of man, but dangerous and sad business to look too closely into our own hearts of darkness. So instead we think ourselves as partaking in a general sense of this depravity thing, but see it manifest in our own lives in nice, clean ways. We have a high view of God’s holiness, of His law, and so confess with all due piety that we are sinners indeed, rebels against the living God, in a nice, clean, abstract sort of way.
The living God, however, has a far more accurate and potent picture of what we are. We are whores. We are shameless, self-degrading, crass and crude. We throw ourselves at strangers, selling our dignity for cash. Worse still, after He has redeemed us, washed us, even married us, we go back for more. We turn tricks before the all seeing eyes of a Husband who suffered hell for us. Again He comes and washes us. He holds us. He confesses His love for us. He promises He will never leave us. He makes us new again.
But because we are still proud, we parade around in the beautiful gown with which He has covered us, suggesting that it surely had a few spots, a wrinkle or two on it before He found us. But they were nice, respectable spots and wrinkles. What we should be confessing that it was once stained through with our whoredom. The joy of the Lord is not that He took we who were mostly clean and made us wholly clean. The joy of the Lord isn’t that because He worked in us no one needs to know our former shame. The joy of the Lord is that while we were out walking the streets He came for us. While others paid to pollute us, He paid to redeem us.
Our Father told us a story so that we would know what we are. He gave us a prophet, Hosea. And we, sinners that we are, instead of confessing to being Gomer, thought He was telling us to be more like Hosea. “Oh,” we humbly confess, “we should be so much more compassionate towards the really bad people. Please forgive us for not being more loving toward the unseemly ones of this world.” The truth is He is confessing that we are the unseemly ones. That’s what we are, the people Jesus died for and married, the people adopted and loved of the Father, the people indwelt and being cleansed by the Spirit- God in three persons, consorting with such as we.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Tuesday — Ephesians 6:10-20 - the armor of God, part 2
Wednesday — Psalm 86 - praying through the hard and suffering seasons of life
Sunday — Revelation 2:12-17 - the church of Pergamum...the compromising church
Psalm 19:10-14 — 10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward. 12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. 13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:11-15 (10-14, Eng)
הַֽנֶּחֱמָדִ֗ים מִ֭זָּהָב וּמִפַּ֣ז רָ֑ב וּמְתוּקִ֥ים מִ֝דְּבַ֗ש וְנֹ֣פֶת צוּפִֽים׃
12 גַּֽם־עַ֭בְדְּךָ נִזְהָ֣ר בָּהֶ֑ם בְּ֝שָׁמְרָ֗ם עֵ֣קֶב רָֽב׃
13 שְׁגִיאֹ֥ות מִֽי־יָבִ֑ין מִֽנִּסְתָּרֹ֥ות נַקֵּֽנִי׃
14 גַּ֤ם מִזֵּדִ֨ים׀ חֲשֹׂ֬ךְ עַבְדֶּ֗ךָ אַֽל־יִמְשְׁלוּ־בִ֣י אָ֣ז אֵיתָ֑ם וְ֝נִקֵּ֗יתִי מִפֶּ֥שַֽׁע רָֽב׃
15 יִֽהְי֥וּ לְרָצֹ֨ון׀ אִמְרֵי־פִ֡י וְהֶגְיֹ֣ון לִבִּ֣י לְפָנֶ֑יךָ יְ֝הוָ֗ה צוּרִ֥י וְגֹאֲלִֽי׃
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Note this essential piece of the armor:
Eph 6:13 ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνης.
Eph 6:13 ...by putting on the breastplate of righteousness.
The church today is often guilty of supplying believers with the paper armor of good advice, programs, activities, techniques, and methods — when what they need is godly armor of holy living. No program, method, or technique can bring wholeness and happiness to the believer who in unwilling to confront and forsake his sin.I couldn't agree more.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
A profound apprehension of God in His majesty, with the poignant realization which inevitably accompanies this apprehension, of the relation sustained to God by the creature as such, and particularly by the sinful creature. The Calvinist is the man who has seen God, and who, having seen God in His glory, is filled on the one hand with a sense of his own unworthiness to stand in God's sight as a creature, and much more as a sinner, and on the other hand, with adoring wonder that nevertheless this God is a God who receives sinners. He who believes in God without reserve and is determined that God shall be God to him in all his thinking, feeling and willing—in the entire compass of his life activities, intellectual, moral and spiritual—throughout all his individual social and religious relations, is, by force of that strictest of all logic which presides over the outworking of principles into thought and life, by the very necessity of the case, a Calvinist.Just fabulous! I praise the LORD for His receiving of me for salvation through Jesus Christ my Righteous One!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
1. the preaching of the Word of God
2. the regeneration by the Spirit of God
3. the evangelization by the regenerate of God
If one studies Church history he finds that God has often brought revivals at certain points of history when His Word was faithfully and fearlessly proclaimed. Through the preaching of His Word, then, He saved and regenerated sinners so that they then take that gospel message and faithfully evangelize and share the gospel with others.
Oh how we need a revival today. But we can't expect revival until these three key elements are in place.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Public prayer is no evidence of piety: it is practiced by an abundance of hypocrites; but private prayer is a thing for which the hypocrite has no heart — and if he gives himself to it for a little time he soon finds it too hot and heavy a business for his soulless soul to persevere in, and he lets it drop. He will sooner perish than continue in private prayer. O for heart searchings about this! Do I draw near to God alone? Do I pray when no eye sees, when no ear hears? Do I make a conscience of private prayer? Is it a delight to pray? For I may gather that if I never enjoy private prayer I am one of those hypocrites who will not always call upon God.
— Charles Spurgeon
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
If I have learned anything in 35 or 40 years of teaching, it is that students don’t learn everything I teach them. What they learn is what I am excited about, the kinds of things I emphasize again and again and again and again. That had better be the gospel.
If the gospel—even when you are orthodox—becomes something which you primarily assume, but what you are excited about is what you are doing in some sort of social reconstruction, you will be teaching the people that you influence that the gospel really isn’t all that important. You won’t be saying that—you won’t even mean that—but that’s what you will be teaching. And then you are only half a generation away from losing the gospel.
Make sure that in your own practice and excitement, what you talk about, what you think about, what you pray over, what you exude confidence over, joy over, what you are enthusiastic about is Jesus, the gospel, the cross. And out of that framework, by all means, let the transformed life flow.
1. Is God's Word being proclaimed there?
2. Is God's worship being pursued there?
3. Is God's will being practiced there?
4. Is God's work being performed there?
Healthy reminders for those who are in need of finding a church-home.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
"Through faith you are so closely united with Christ . . . that you can say with confidence: . . . Christ's righteousness, victory, life, etc., are mind; and Christ, in turn, says: I am this sinner, that is, his sins, death, etc., are Mine because he clings to Me and I to him; for through faith we have been joined together into one flesh and bone" (quoted in Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 336).
Friday, December 3, 2010
O God the Holy Spirit,
That which I know not, teach thou me,
Keep me a humble disciple in the school of Christ,
Learning daily there what I am in myself,
a fallen sinful creature, justly deserving everlasting destruction.
O let me never lose sight of my need of a Saviour,
or forget that apart from him I can do nothing, and can do nothing.
Open my understanding to know the Holy Scriptures;
Reveal to my soul the counsels and works of the blessed Trinity;
Instill into my dark mind the saving knowledge of Jesus;
Make me acquainted with his covenant undertakings
and his perfect fulfillment of them,
that by resting on his finished work
I may find the Father's love in the Son,
His Father, my Father,
and may be brought through thy influence
to have fellowship with the Three in One.
O lead me into all truth, thou Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
That I may know the things that belong unto my peace,
and through thee be made anew.
Make practical upon my heart the Father's love
as thou hast revealed it in the Scriptures;
Apply to my soul the blood of Christ, effectually, continually,
and help me to believe, with conscience comforted,
that it cleanseth from all sin;
Lead me from faith to faith,
that i may at all times have freedom to come to a reconciled Father,
and may be able to maintain peace with him
against doubts, fears, corruptions, temptations.
Thy office is to teach me to draw near to Christ with a pure heart,
steadfastly persuaded of his love,
in the full assurance of faith.
Let me never falter in this way.
I don't know about you but my heart is stirred.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
O God, do not remain quiet; Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still.
אֱלֹהִ֥ים אַל־דֳּמִי־לָ֑ךְ אַל־תֶּחֱרַ֖שׁ וְאַל־תִּשְׁקֹ֣ט אֵֽל׃
Believers often struggle with the idea of God seeming to be silent. Why is this? In the 17th c. a man named Gualter Cradock gives three helpful reasons why God seems to be silent.
First, The Lord keeps silent to try the faith of the believers. The Lord will not suffer his people to be overwhelmed, that is certain, but he will suffer them to come very near, that the waves cover them, and fear and horror shall cover their souls, and all to try and test their faith.
Second, the Lord keeps silence in the midst of the troubles of his people to try men's uprightness and discover who will stick to God, and his cause, and his people, out of uprightness of heart. Sometimes God leaves his cause, and leaves his people, and his ordinances to the wide world, to see who will plead for it and stick to it.
Third, God keeps silence in the midst of the greatest troubles, so that he may gather the wicked into one bundle so that they may be destroyed together. God may withdraw himself from his people (in seeming absence only) yet he hath a hook within the hearts of His people and he holds them up secretly by His Spirit, that they shall not leave him. Yet the world shall not see but that God hath quite left them, and all their ordinances and his gospel and everything, and then the wicked come together and insult, whereby God may come upon them at once, and destroy them, as we find exemplified in this psalm (=Ps 83).
I think this is good theocentric wisdom.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
"Do not tell me that a sinner who believes in Jesus is to make an advance before he can say he is saved, that a man who trusts Christ is only on the way to salvation, and must wait until he has used the ordinances, and has grown in grace, before he may know that he is saved. No, the moment that the sinner’s trust is placed on the finished work of Jesus he is saved. Heaven and earth may pass away, but that man shall never perish. If only one second ago I trusted the Savior I am safe, just as safe as the man who has believed in Jesus fifty years, and who has all that while walked uprightly. I do not say that the new born convert is as happy, nor as useful, nor as holy, nor as ripe for heaven, but I do say that the words, “he that believeth on him hath everlasting life,” is a truth with general bearings, and relates as much to the babe in faith as it does to the man who has attained to fullness of stature in Jesus Christ."
Monday, November 29, 2010
Translated: "society of workers in the factory of bullet cartridges for backloading of Vetterli rifles.
See, German isn't really that hard (*wink wink*)!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I encourage you to listen & download and be reminded that Jesus calls His people to suffer. But note: Jesus is nearest to His people in the hour of suffering!
Soli Deo Gloria.
Revelation 2:8-11 — "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this: 9 'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 'Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.'
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
"Our ground is good, and we work it to the utmost, but our chief ambition is for the education of our children. . . . We take most pains of all with the instruction of children, and esteem the observation of the laws, and the piety corresponding with them, the most important affair of our whole life" (Ap. 1.12.§60).
Not bad for a secular historian! Perhaps we as parents nowadays have something to learn from ancient pedagogy in the home.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
25 ὅθεν καὶ σῴζειν εἰς τὸ παντελὲς δύναται τοὺς προσερχομένους δι᾽ αὐτοῦ τῷ θεῷ, πάντοτε ζῶν εἰς τὸ ἐντυγχάνειν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν.
25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
In this brief verse the author of Hebrews reveals some magnificent and historical realities:
1. Jesus is able to save.
2. Jesus is able to save forever (lit. “unto the consummation”)
3. Jesus is the (only!) mediator so that we may draw near to God.
4. Jesus, though once dead and buried in a tomb, now and forevermore is alive!
5. Jesus makes intercession on behalf of His people.
We could summarize this by saying that Jesus is (1) sufficient to save, (2) eternally saving, (3) the exclusive Savior, (4) the living Savior, and (5) the interceding Savior.
The salvation given to me is what I am most thankful for this year.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Ephesians 5:25 — Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
Monday, November 22, 2010
1. the radical depravity of man.
You will never appreciate the love of God and the gospel of God until you recognize your utter wickedness and that you are absolutely heinous in God's sight.
2. the supernatural power of God.
God moves through the preaching of His Word. His message and His Word are powerful. Don't neglect the daily reading of Scripture either.
3. how does the death of the Son of God lead to my forgiveness? The great problem is this: if God is just and good, then he cannot pardon you! Most people don't understand the gospel. Sure they can recite the words: "Jesus died for me" but then how does his death apply to your being pardoned? We have made the gospel today a simple thing that we use to move on to bigger and better things. We must always preach the gospel.
4. be a man of prayer. Pray often. Pray much. God has decreed everything — he is sovereign. Yet I have not because I ask not, Scripture says!
There is purpose in prayer. We are to cry out and ask God for our requests. God, you will do something when I pray — and He will! You cry out and don't know what you'll get. But God will answer you. But note this, my flesh hates prayer more than anything. If you are called to be a preacher, you are called to be a man with God. Preaching is where the preacher knows God's Word and he knows what God wants to say and he stands and says it. When was the last time you turned before God in prayer? Be careful lest you get all the tools in seminary and you don't know the God of the Bible!
Don't preach to amaze people's minds but preach to their conscience.
Pray and read through the Bible. Ask yourself, can you be alone with God? Prayer is something you must work for. You must be a fruit-bearing man and fruitbearing in the Scripture is normally in contexts of prayer (John 15; Col.1).
5. pray in faith. God always says yes in prayer. I must be believing in firm biblical promises. God will reward my praying. I don't know how but I believe that He will hear and He will answer my prayers. Something is going to happen because of my praying. We are to pray and believe that God will hear and answer.
6. don't forget your wife and children. Preaching begins with washing your wife with the Word. We are called tow ash our wives with the cleansing fountain of God's Word. The best seminary in the world is the family. Train your children in the faith. We are called to educate our children in theology. God has given children so we can train them, catechize them, and train them up in the ways of the LORD.
7. don't just preach a text. Let the text work on you before you preach it to others. Don't just prepare for a sermon, you must prepare yourself. Meditation is mandatory. Meditation is thinking and mulling over a text time and time again until it owns you. Let it possess you.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Romans 3:11 THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD
I agree with RC Sproul: "We do not 'find' God as a result of our search for him. We are found by him. the search for God does not end in conversion; it begins at conversion. It is the converted person who genuinely and sincerely seeks after God. Jonathan Edwards remarked that seeking after God is the main business of the Christian life" (What is Reformed Theology, 125).
Again, I believe the Scriptures: Romans 3:11 THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Commenting on Ephesians 5:31-32 which reads: Ephesians 5:31-32 31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church, Boice writes:
1. No one will ever be able to understand the truest, deepest meaning of marriage who is not a Christian. 2. No one who is a Christian should ever marry a person who is not a Christian. 3. No marriage will ever attain its true potential unless those united in the marriage are pursuing it according to God's goal and standards.
Source: Boice, Ephesians, 206.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
"One study we conducted examined Americans' engagement in some type of sexually inappropriate behavior, including looking at on-line pornography, viewing sexually explicit magazines or movies, or having an intimate sexual encounter outside of marriage. In all, we found that 30 percent of born-again Christians admitted to at least one of these activities in the past thirty days, compared with 35 percent of other Americans. In statistical and practical terms, this means the two groups are essentially no different from each other."Let us heed the warning in Hebrews 12:14: without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
John 3:14-16 14 "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. 16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Michael Horton wisely states:
"When reformed theology hears Scripture teaching both divine sovereignty and human responsibility, divine election and the universal offer of the gospel, it affirms both even though it confesses that it does not know quite how God coordinates them behind the scenes" (Introducing Covenant Theology [Baker, 2006], 19).
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
In the book of Hebrews, the author shifts back and forth constantly between expositional sections and exhortational sections. It is a very difficult book to outline party because the text is constantly "on the move." Nevertheless, Hebrews 10:19 begins an exhortational (=hortatory) section where the author calls his hearers to action. He begs them to draw near, hold fast, and stimulate others toward good deeds in the Church (10:19-25). Then the author includes arguably the sternest warning in all the book of Hebrews where he tells them that if they continue sinning deliberately there is nothing that awaits them but a terrifying expectation of God's judgment (just look at the context of the OT quotations of Heb 10:30 — Deut 32:35, 36). Chapter 10:32 begins a new section where the author calls them to endurance in the midst of hardship (10:36). They have endured sufferings (10:32). They have undergone public reproaches and great persecution (10:32-34). And in so far as they have suffered, they are still called to "endure" so that they will receive "the promise" (10:36).
Then to substantiate his argument, the author of Hebrews provides two OT quotations — Isaiah 26:20 and Habakkuk 2:3-4.
Isaiah 26 is a song of trust in Yahweh's protection of his people. Yet the larger context includes the people of God who are suffering. In fact, Isa 26:17ff refers to the people of Israel as a pregnant woman approaching the time of her birth with pain, agony, and eager expectation. The quote is in v.20 where God tells them to "hide and wait a little while until indignation runs its course." Then, v.21 reveals that Yahweh will come out from His place to punish wicked ones for their iniquities.
Similarly, Habakkuk's context reveals the heart-wrenching confusion of Habakkuk. Why does God allow those more wicked to destroy His people? How does he seem inactive? Why does he seem to be apathetic? God responds to Habakkuk's complaints beginning in 2:2. Yahweh said that the vision that he is to write down (2:2) is yet for the "appointed time" and it will hasten toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it. This means that the deliverance Habakkuk longed for will come — in its proper time. But that's God's business — His timing is always perfect. Habakkuk's responsibility consists of not being "proud" (I keep the Masoretic Text [MT] as is without emendation) but rather being a righteous one who "lives by his faith" (2:4). Yes, deliverance from hardship will come. It will most certainly come. But Habakkuk's job is to wait and be patient. He is called to endure and live by faith.
This fits most perfectly in the immediate context of Hebrews 10 and the argument that the author impresses on his hearers. In the midst of severe persecution and dark oppression, they are called to endure by faith and wait for the deliverance of the LORD.
Here is part of the conclusion of my paper:
The believers to whom the author of Hebrews wrote struggled to endure, but if they will endure they shall receive the promise of God (10:35–36). Therefore, to reinforce this point in a hortatory challenge, the author combines two texts from the OT to prove his case as he sets their situation against the backdrop of the Parousia of Jesus Christ (10:37–38). Just as the people in both Isaiah and Habakkuk’s day were to endure hardship and persecution knowing that God would bring deliverance in the future, so also the readers of the epistle of Hebrews are called to endure hardship and persecution knowing that God will come (ὁ ἐρχόμενος) and bring deliverance. But until that time comes they must live by faith (ἐκ πίστεως). Thus, the writer states that the righteous one lives by faith but yet the one who shrinks back and refuses to endure finds no pleasure with God.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
"In himself and from his own resources man has not an atom either of willingness or even of capacity for faith. Faith is not the human condition for receiving new life; it is the divinely given instrument by which God saves lost souls."
So you cannot have a successful and God-honoring ministry without the preaching of the Word, and that preaching of the Word must climax with the glorious mysteries of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is the goal of preaching and the central point of all ecclesiology.
Friday, November 5, 2010
"For our citizenship is in heaven. . . ." Because this is the case, CS Lewis noted that we should make it our main object of focus in this life. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country." He was also right as he understood the glory of heaven and the need for living now for heaven!
Here is how we laid out our seven-part series on heaven:
1. Heaven — what is it? misconceptions? and biblical proof.
2. Heaven — where is it? and what is it like?
3. Heaven — what is the new city of Jerusalem like?
4. Heaven — what will we be like?
5. Heaven — how will we relate to one another?
6. Heaven — how will we relate to God?
7. Heaven — what will we do there?
You may download the notes here.
BTW, Heaven is not like this...
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Colossians 3:1-4 — Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
I came across this quote from Richard Baxter that I think will encourage you:
If there be so certain and glorious a rest for the saints, why is there no more industrious seeking after it? One would think, if a man did but once hear of such unspeakable glory to be obtained, and believed what he heard to be true, he should be transported with the vehemency of his desire after it, and should almost forget to eat and drink, and should care for nothing else, and speak of and inquire after nothing else, but how to get this treasure. And yet people who hear of it daily, and profess to believe it as a fundamental article of their faith, do as little mind it, or labor for it, as if they had never heard of any such thing, or did not believe one word they hear."May these words from Mr. Baxter challenge our hearts to not only think about heaven more but earnestly yearn for that true heavenly home that awaits true believers!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
"It is a strange thing that when men talk about the love of GOd, they show by every word that they utter that they have no conception at all of the depths of God's love. If you want to find an instance of true gratitude for the infinite grace of God, do not go to those who think of God's love as something that cost nothing, but go rather to those who in agony of soul have faced the awful fact of the guilt of sin, and then have come to know with a trembling wonder that the miracle of all miracles has been accomplished, and that the eternal Son has died in their stead" (Carson, "The Wrath of God," in Engaging the Doctrine of God, ed. by Bruce L. McCormack, 62).
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
- Last Sunday I preached on how to be a Godly wife to the glory of God
- This Sunday I preached on how to be a Godly husband to the glory of God
by grace alone
through faith alone
in Christ alone
Romans 4:3-5 3 For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,
Friday, October 29, 2010
"How long will you love vanity?" Psalm 4:2
The Lord is often represented in His word as expostulating with us. He manifests the deepest interest, shows intense pity, and uses many means to draw us back from the vortex of ruin.
But man, thoughtless man, silly man--rushes on his way, trifles with his soul, and plays on the brink of the most dreadful precipice! He is in love with his sin--and therefore in love with his own destruction! But God does not abandon him to despair--but touchingly, tenderly, lovingly--He expostulates with him and asks, "How long will you love vanity?"
Man by nature sets his heart upon what is vain and worthless--that which is not suited to, or required by, his immortal nature. Vanity represents that which is light, changeable, and of brief duration. Man displays his love of vanity . . .
by preferring human friendship--to God's friendship,
by thinking much more of the creature--than the Creator;
by preferring earthly riches--to heavenly felicities;
by preferring carnal pleasures--to spiritual delights!
Nor only so--but he manifests his foolishness by indulging in sin--the worst of vanities!
Look at the profane swearer, the drunkard, the glutton, the proud, the lover of pleasure. They are in love with vanity! They imagine that they shall have pleasure and enjoy happiness--but they never ponder the questions, "What shall it profit a man--if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
God asks the lover of vanity, "How Long!" "How long will you love vanity?" You have been doing so for years. Some for twenty, some for forty, and some for sixty years! You have manifested love to vanity--though warned, though convinced you were doing wrong, though you have often promised to reform. You are still loving vanity . . .
though mortality is at work within you,
though death is very near to you,
though eternity is within a step of you,
though hell is ready to receive you!
You persevere in loving vanity . . .
while a pardon is presented to you,
while peace with God may be enjoyed by you,
while holiness may be obtained by you, and
while heaven is within your reach!
How long will you love vanity?
Until some affliction unfits you to seek the world?
Until God's Spirit no longer strives with you?
Until Satan fills your heart?
Until God laughs at your calamity?
Until some sudden stroke takes you away to hell?
Let your past foolishness suffice, and now, while the door of mercy is open, enter!
Now, while the way of escape is clear--flee for your life!
No one ever came too soon--thousands have delayed too long! No one ever regretted that he was saved too early--millions have cursed their folly that they were not saved at all! Myriads wish that they had never been born--because they persevered in such folly. Beware then, beware--lest you rue your folly too late! Love vanity no longer!
From Grace Gems.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Psalm 78:1-8 Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 4 We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, 6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, 7 That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, 8 And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God.
"In the passage before us, however, a particular injunction is given to the fathers on this point — each of them is enjoined diligently to instruct his own children, and all without distinction are taught, that their exertions in transmitting the name of God to their posterity will be most acceptable to Him, and receive his highest approbation. By the words, That the children to be born should arise, is not denoted a small number of individuals; but it is intimated, that the preachers of divine truth, by whose efforts pure religion may flourish and prevail for ever, will be as numerous as those who are born into the world" (Psalms, Part III, 165).
Also peruse the great comments by my mentor and friend, Dr. Varner.
The successes demonstrate how, after decades of acquiring technology from the west, Beijing has begun to push the limits of its new capabilities, setting the bar higher on mega-projects as it seeks to promote the image of a powerful, modern China. But many of these initiatives have come at great human and environmental cost, and some have questioned whether the country fosters a sufficiently innovative spirit to compete on the next level.
Still in the works: it is a $32.5 billion, 820-mile (1,300-kilometer) Beijing-to-Shanghai high-speed railway that is scheduled to open in 2012.
"We are now much faster," Railway Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said at Tuesday's inauguration of the super-fast line from Shanghai's western suburb of Hongqiao to the resort city of Hangzhou. "Now other countries are hoping to cooperate with us."
The train will cruise at a top speed of 220 mph (350 kph), making the 125-mile (200-kilometer) trip in 45 minutes.
China already has the world's longest high-speed rail network and aims to more than double its length to 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) by 2020.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
“There is joy in receiving things in this life, but the fullness is in God’s own presence. Oh, Christians! You will then know the difference between the creature and the Creator, and the content that each of them affords. We shall then have light without a candle, and a perpetual day without the sun. We shall then have rest without sleep, for God will be our rest. We shall then have enlightened understandings without a written law: for the Lord will perfect His law in our hearts, and we shall be all perfectly taught of God.
His own will shall be our Law, and His own face shall be our light forever. Then shall we have joy, which we drew not from the promises, nor was fetched us home by faith and hope. Beholding and possessing will exclude most of these. We shall then have communion without sacraments, when Christ shall drink with us of the fruit of the vine new; that is, refresh us with the comforting wine of immediate fruition, in the kingdom of His Father. When we shall live in our Father’s house and presence and God shall be all in all, then we are indeed at home in rest.”
Thursday, October 21, 2010
“The conditional sentences of this epistle are worthy of special attention. Nowhere in the NT more than here do we find such repeated insistence on the fact that continuance in the Christian life is the test of reality. The doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints has as its corollary the salutary teaching that the saints are the people who persevere to the end.”
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Isaiah 59:2-4 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters wickedness. 4 No one sues righteously and no one pleads honestly. They trust in confusion and speak lies; They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.
The Scripture states that the iniquities of Israel has separated them from their God. The result of one who is sin-infested is that God hides Himself from him. Indeed, the hands of sinners are defiled, unclean, and filthy. Even the very fingers on one's hands are full of iniquity and transgression. The lips find comfort in speaking falsehood and the tongue mutters wickedness. This is the utter depraved state that Israel found herself in back in Isaiah's time. Indeed, this is the same state that all human beings find themselves in. This is the human plight. The predicament is evident: God turns away from sinful man because of his impurity and defilement.
Note even verse 12:
Isaiah 59:12 12 For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify against us; For our transgressions are with us, And we know our iniquities:
Man, utterly helpless and incapable of bringing any deliverance unto himself in any way whatsoever needs One to interceed on behalf of Him. Note, the response does not come from man and his ingenuity but from God and His abundant mercy:
Isaiah 59:15-16 Now the LORD saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. 16 And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, And His righteousness upheld Him.
What an amazing concept. Man, covered in filth, sin, defiling wickedness and unrighteousness cannot save Himself. But the LORD saw. That's the greatest phrase that brings comfort to deadened sinners. The LORD saw us. The LORD looks upon us. The LORD regards us. NOTE, it is not because there is anything worthy in us. Rather, the opposite is true. It is because we are wholly unworthy to look at that Yahweh—in his sovereign and supernatural mercy—looks upon our helplessness and brings salvation to him. The text says that God's "own arm brought salvation."
This is OT gospel given by Yahweh through Isaiah to the people of Israel. But the same truth can be found in the NT as well. We are dead in sin and in need for God's sovereign intervention to "bring salvation" to sinners. May we be faithful to evangelize and wait for God's "own arm to bring salvation" to His elect.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
“The priority of the preacher is first to DISCOVER the author’s intended meaning and second to declare that meaning to his hearers in an effective way so that they can RESPOND to it correctly!”
Sin has evermore a swelling tendency, and until the Holy Spirit has cut up the last root of sin, evil will grow up again in the heart, at the scent of water it will bud and put forth once again its shoots. Here is work for all time, enough to keep us busy till we land in eternity.
Monday, October 18, 2010
From John Bunyan’s “A Few Sighs from Hell“:
How many souls have blind priests been the means of destroying by their ignorance? Preaching that was no better for their souls than ratsbane to the body. Many of them, it is to be feared, have whole towns to answer for. Ah! friend, I tell thee, thou has taken in hand to preach to the people, it may be thou has taken in hand what thou canst not tell what. Will it not grieve thee to see the whole parish come bellowing after thee into hell? crying out, “This we have to thank thee for, thou wast afraid to tell us of our sins, lest we should not put meat fast enough into thy mouth. O cursed wretch, thou wast not content, blind guide as thou wast, to fall into the ditch thyself, but hast also led us thither with thee.”
Charles Spurgeon quotes this section from Bunyan in his sermon, “The Minister’s Self-Watch.” His point: How disastrous is an unregenerate minister failing to preach the gospel to a people blindly and deafly led to hell. We rightly lament the demonic terror Hitler unleashed on the world. Who can count the number of souls condemned to hell because unfaithful and unregenerate preachers refused to proclaim the only news that saves? Brothers, let us search ourselves for evidence of God’s saving grace then preach the whole counsel of God!
Also, I found a great "chill" song that I really enjoy accompanying me as I read.
As for an update, I finished my PhD module last week where I presented my dissertation topic: "The Book of Jeremiah in John's Revelation." There is much work that needs to be done here. My adviser gave me the "go-ahead" so I'm extremely excited about being in God's Word—both testaments and both languages (and, there's even one verse in Aramaic!)! Thank you for your prayers.
soli Deo gloria!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
וְהוּא֙ מְחֹלָ֣ל מִפְּשָׁעֵ֔נוּ מְדֻכָּ֖א מֵעֲוֹנֹתֵ֑ינוּ מוּסַ֤ר שְׁלוֹמֵ֙נוּ֙ עָלָ֔יו וּבַחֲבֻרָת֖וֹ נִרְפָּא־לָֽנוּ׃
כֻּלָּ֙נוּ֙ כַּצֹּ֣אן תָּעִ֔ינוּ אִ֥ישׁ לְדַרְכּ֖וֹ פָּנִ֑ינוּ וַֽיהוָה֙ הִפְגִּ֣יעַ בּ֔וֹ אֵ֖ת עֲוֹ֥ן כֻּלָּֽנוּ׃
And one of my favorite songs that closely relates to it:
Saturday, October 16, 2010
"Be not grieved; we have another atonement as effective as this [=the Temple sacrificial ritual], and what is it? It is acts of loving kindness, as it is said: 'For I desire mercy and not sacrifice'" (Hos.6:6)."
Elsewhere the Talmud writes:
"Not to mourn at all is not feasible, for the decree has already beeen decreed. But further, to mourn excessively (also) is not feasible. Rather, thus the sages have said, 'A man shall plaster his home with plaster and leave over a small bit as a remembrance of Jerusalem'" (t. Sotah 15:12).
Here's the issue: they replaced the offering of sacrifices with good deeds. This, they purport, is acceptable before the eyes of God.
Or, is it?
Friday, October 15, 2010
Jesus will be excluded from the World to Come (m. Sanh. 10:2),
Jesus will be boiled in filth in Gehenna (b. Git. 56b-57a),
There was a man, the son of a woman, who would rise up and seek to make himself God, and cause the entire world to err. . . . If he says that he is God, he lies; and in the future he will cause to err—that he departs and returns in the end. He says, but will not do. . . . Alas, who shall live of that people that listens to that man who makes himself God (Yal. Simeoni on Num 23:7)?
We do well to share with our Jewish friends the truth from the Hebrew Scriptures:
Psalm 2:6-12 6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain." 7 "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 'You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.'" 10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
Proverbs 30:4 4 Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son's name? Surely you know!
Isaiah 53:4-7 4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
Hebrews 1:1-3 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,