4.29.2010

All we need for a happy life


“Whenever those things present themselves to us which would lead us away from resting in God alone, let us make use of this sentiment as an antidote against them, that we have sufficient cause for being contented, since he who has in himself an absolute fullness of all good has given himself to be enjoyed by us.
In this way we will experience our condition to be always pleasant and comfortable; for he who has God as his portion is destitute of nothing which is requisite to constitute a happy life.”

 - John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2009), commenting on Psalm 16:6

(shamelessly copied from OFI)

4.27.2010

Sin lies to us




"We sin because we believe what sin offers is true. We believe that being sexually aroused will bring us personal satisfaction or being socially in the know will bring us meaningful acceptance. So, we look at porn and gossip about others. If we really believed that porn and gossip were based on lies that don’t satisfy, we wouldn’t participate in them. Sin lies to us. We need to get in the habit of talking back with the truth. Instead of expressing faith in the lies of sin, we need to have faith in the truth of the gospel. The gospel is “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). It is the heart-warming, mind-renewing truth that image of the glory of God in the complexion of Jesus is all we need to be truly satisfied, complete, and accepted. We receive it by faith, over and over again. When we labor to look at Jesus, we begin to look like him, to be transformed into his image. This is why the fight of faith is important. It is based on the truth and it truly changes our image. It simultaneously holds Jesus up and draws us to him. Although the fight of faith is humbling and hard, it is worth it. It is a good and glorious fight."

 - "Fight Clubs", Jonathan Dodson, bold added

I will write my blogs on the sermon I preached this last week, I promise!

4.26.2010

Psalm 90:9-12


"For all our days pass away under your wrath;
   we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
The years of our life are seventy,
   or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
   they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger,
   and your wrath according to the fear of you?
So teach us to number our days
   that we may get a heart of wisdom.
"
   - Psalm 90:9-12 (italics added)

Life is unthinkably short. Our several decades on this planet are nothing compared to how God sees time (cf. Psalm 90:4). Cancer takes us, accidents take us, war takes us, and ultimately the decay of sin on our physical bodies takes us from this world that is passing away.

The man who follows the admonitions in Ps. 90:11 and Ps. 90:12 is wise indeed.
Do we consider the power of God's anger? Do we consider his wrath as we fear God? His anger and wrath are indeed awesome. Thanks be to God that those who have the Son will not see a drop of the wrath of God, save when we remember how all his wrath was indeed poured out on his Son for our sin.

Will we consider the cross of Jesus? Consider how Jesus Christ took the full cup of wrath of his Father on our behalf, Christian. Consider the fury laid upon the sinless Son of Man. Consider the sheer power of God's anger as Jesus bore sin that was not his. Consider the wrath poured out on the Christ physically. See his body torn and beaten beyond recognition. Consider this.

Our bodies are indeed passing away and wise is the man who thinks not that this body is immortal. Yes, there will be new bodies for all men, and they are to be given to an eternity of pleasure or wrath. Wise is the man who does not squander his unthinkably short time on this planet for indeed, we are not promised tomorrow (James 4:14).

4.23.2010

God's Love

I watched this sermon late last night in its entirety and I will commend it to you.
One of the main questions is: "Do you feel loved by God?" I think Piper does a great job at addressing this.


Lest I make an idol of a preacher, let me say this: be awestruck at the love of God.

(via Desiring God)

4.22.2010

Incoming

I have been slacking this week and last on blogging. Forgive me, my few readers. I do have an idea that might be beneficial for your edification: The next series of blog posts will be just that, a series, on Galatians 3:1-5. Oh, and I am preaching my first sermon on that this Sunday at the Baptist Campus Ministries at Syracuse University. That being said, expect some in-depth, hopefully pithy, and beneficial words from yours truly as I have been attempting through my first shot at expository preaching.

I have a Star Wars analogy in the sermon. No comment.

4.14.2010

Sola Fide


"Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified."

 - Galatians 2:16

4.12.2010

Romans 8:13


I wrote a poem the other night. Here it is:

Set blade to skin
Carefully through
The flesh of stone
Oust my sin

Good Surgeon thy work
Sin's nature reverse
My deeds of flesh
Help me spurn

Spirit, do sieve
My heart, make pure
Sanctify and
I will live

4.10.2010

Gospel Joy


"Joy is the result of true acceptance of the gospel; but not the first result. Without consciousness of sin and apprehension of judgment there is no conversion."

Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, Vol. 8, page 145.

"And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away." Mark 4:16-17

 Joy apart from a knowledge of transgressions and sins against God and the corresponding guilty verdict before his law belies true salvation.True, gospel joy comes indeed when we are struck to the heart with guilt and conviction for our sins against God and then, by a miracle of the Lord, our eyes are opened to see the mercies of Christ Jesus. Such a joy will endure for it is founded on Christ himself.

Joy apart from a knowledge of sin is indeed nebulous and ultimately fruitless. Find true joy in the Gospel.

4.06.2010

Power versus Talk

I was just doing my devotions and part of my annual Bible reading plan had me in 1 Corinthians and I stumbled across this lovely verse:
For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. ( 1 Cor. 4:20 )
Now was mildly stumped by this verse at first. What is this power that Paul is speaking of as he describes the kingdom of God? It seemed somewhat intangible and mystical to me. Thus, with my interest in this verse that I wanted to understand further, I looked to one of the best Bible commentators of all time: John Calvin. He had this to say about this verse:
We have already seen that the preaching of the gospel is of such a nature, that it is inwardly replete with a kind of solid majesty. This majesty shows itself, when a minister strives by means of power rather than of speech — that is, when he does not place confidence in his own intellect, or eloquence, but, furnished with spiritual armor, consisting of zeal for maintaining the Lord’s honor — eagerness for the raising up of Christ’s kingdom — a desire to edify — the fear of the Lord — an invincible constancy — purity of conscience, and other necessary endowments, he applies himself diligently to the Lord’s work. Without this, preaching is dead, and has no strength, with whatever beauty it may be adorned.
Preaching is dead without the power of God. The eloquent orators that frequented Corinth and their skill in public speaking and prose was not the chief characteristic that those with the Gospel were to display, indeed Paul and his fellow workers in most cases were not majestic in their words. Paul notes the chief characteristic of the kingdom of God: power. It is not of well-spoken preachers, but of the very power that God manifests as the Gospel spreads and bears fruit.

This is of particular importance to me I reckon. I will be preaching in a few weeks at my own church and as a first-timer, well, I really needed to hear this.

Preachers, speak not in the power of your words! Do not think the kingdom of God will spread by your fanciful talk! It indeed only spreads and has been furthered by the very power of God, not man. That is what I am telling myself, I hope it might be an accurate, Biblical, and helpful reminder to you who do preach.

4.05.2010

Desperate Souls

Would you like to know the reason why we who preach the Gospel, preach so often about conversion? We do it because of the necessities of men’s souls. We do it because we see plainly from the Word of God that nothing short of a thorough change of heart will ever meet the demands of your case. Your case is naturally desperate. Your danger is great. You need not only the atonement of Jesus Christ – but the quickening, sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, to make you a true Christian, and deliver you from hell.
 - J.C. Ryle
(via J.C. Ryle Quotes)

I was recently talking with my pastor, Mike as we do weekly and we got talking about the necessity of and failure to often preach the biblical truth about regeneration. The man who calls himself a Christian and yet is as dead as a corpse spiritually is neither saved nor a Christian. Did Jesus not say you must be born-again ( John 3:3 )? I am preaching at my church in a few weeks as Mike has so graciously allowed me to and will be helping me with thus...perhaps I will touch on the doctrine of regeneration.