- The Reformed Pastor
- My real name is Charlie Albright. I am the pinnacle of evil who God has flooded with His mercy. Declaring my sinful self righteous and holy in His sight! Lavishing His grace upon me by the blood Jesus shed on the cross! Carrying me through this life and giving me satiatfing joy! Anything good about me is only because of His grace!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
"You cannot banish me, for this world is my Father's house."
"But I will kill you," said the empress.
"No, you cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God," said John.
"I will take away your treasures."
"No, you cannot, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there."
"But I will drive you away from your friends and you will have no one left."
"No, you cannot, for I have a Friend in heaven from whom you cannot separate me. I defy you, for there is nothing you can do to harm me."
From Ray Ortlund
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I was thinking of questions one day and this popped into my mind. If a person came up to me and asked how he could keep his passion of Christ alive while sitting through classes at a Bible College what would I say? We have all heard or come across those that found that their time at a seminary/bible college brought dryness to their souls. Sitting through classes for hours, reading the Bible for a class assignment, going to chapel services multiple times a week, having to read about the Bible and theology again and again has a way of zapping spiritual vigor right out of a person if they are not prepared to handle it. So how does one keep this from happening?
(Since I am attending a Bible College I am only going to use the term Bible College. But the same principles apply to Seminary as well. Also, this is coming from the perspective of a single guy speaking to incoming freshmen that are single. There are very important principles to keep in mind regarding one’s spouse which I will not deal with here)
Just like one has to understand the purpose and limitations of a tool one has to understand the purpose and limit of a Bible College to one’s spiritual life and future ministry position. One would not try to hammer in a nail with a screw driver. The tool is only meant to screw in screws. One would not pull out the circular saw to smooth out a flat surface of a board. One needs a sander to do that. If one does try to force a tool to accomplish something it is not deign to do he is only go to find the object he was working on broken and possibly wound himself in the process. If you want to build a cabinet you need other tools in your shop to get it done. You cannot rely on one to do everything in the building process. The same idea applies to Bible College, it has limitations but if used right will do the job that it was intended to do.
(Also note: Where as a Bible College/Seminary are good, they are not the best. The local church is the best place to train future ministers. But because local churches fail in this regard we have to live with the next best thing.)
Bible College is designed to provide the technical and theoretical knowledge needed to do ministry. For those that do not have this needed theological knowledge it is a place to attain it. One can get his view of theological issues crafted so that when they go to a local church he can preach with confidence. Languages of the original manuscripts are taught. It is also a place to hear other view points and discuss different methodologies and ministry practices. And it is a great place because the Bible is presented constantly. It is in every class and weaved into the fabric of study. Books are of a biblical nature if not directly about studying the bible itself. And if the professorship is good one will be assigned great books that will have an impacted on one’s view of God and what He commands.
There are, however, other things that need to be in your life if you want your time at Bible College profitable. Now Derek James Brown has given a great list about how to waste one’s theological education. His list is excellent and a must read. As wanting to be another voice of exhortation on this subject, I also want to come at this topic on the positive side (what one should do) as complement you his negative side (what you should not do). Hopefully both will be of service to you.
So what things do you need in your life to do to make the most out of Bible College and so so the tool properly?
1. Obviously there are the normal spiritual disciples of Bible reading and prayer. Where as this is pretty basic, it is easy to let these be pushed to the side in the rush to get other things done. But if you let the busyness of school over take your personal time of seeing and learning from God, then your spiritual vigor will begin to dry-up. You must spend time beholding God through His Word. I know myself, my mind so easily gets distracted by things, good things many times, that Christ and His truth falls out of focus. And this is especially dangerous in Bible College where it is easy to think that since you read a book about God’s work of creation you are good to go. But that is not usually the case. You must fight to retain joy in the Lord and your focus to be on Him throughout the day. The way to do this is to eat the Word and be dependent on him through prayer
There is also a danger to separate your personal devotions with your school work. Don’t let that happen either. Enjoy to the fullest the tremendous blessing of studying God’s Word for school. Use that book on God’s work of creation to cause your heart to spring forth in praise to the God who creates and rules! Let the lessons in the classroom grow your love for the savior. Now you will have to fight for this just like you have to fight for your personal devotions. There will be many times that you will read a book on, say the atonement, and your only goal will be to finish the book. You must stop and cause yourself to realize that the Lord of the universe sent His own Son to bear His wrath so that sinners who have faith might enjoy everlasting joy in knowing God.
2. The Local church. It is absolutely essential that you are part of a local congregation. And I don’t mean just in attendance. You must be focused on serving a local church. This is critical! If the local church is not important to you and you are not active in a local congregation your endeavors at Bible College will be futile at best and harmful to the kingdom at worst. The local church is essential in three key areas:
(a) It is the body in which you grow. Studying the Bible in the class room is great but it can never replace being under the preached word and in a community who spurs each other onto good works. You must be under the watch-care of Spirit filled pastors, lay leaders and fellow Christians. God saves individuals into the community of called out ones. Bible College does not exempt you from this reality.
(b) It will give you an outlet to serve. You need to be an active part of the body. The place to do this is the local gathering of the body. And the body is dependent on its parts serving the greater whole. A very important part of being a minister is service, it is pretty much definition of our task. And the local church is the place to do it. Also, you must have the humility to do whatever service you can. Sitting around waiting for a teaching position to open up is not service, it is a demonstration of pride! You have crafted the plan for your life and you are just sitting around until God comes and fulfills it. No! By grace, you come to people and say, I have no idea what I am suppose to do, so how can I best serve you? A Christian who has this heart will do much more for the kingdom of Christ than the latter. “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.” (1 Cor. 41-2) Train to be a servant, not a professional and so serve Christ’s church with a willing and humble heart. And finally,
(c) It is the goal of your theological training. What I mean by this is that service to the local church is the very reason you are at Bible College! You are not attending here to be the next John Piper or D.A. Carson. You are learning Biblical knowledge so that you may impart the glories of God to assembly works, school teachers, business men, third shift shelf stockers, mothers, fathers, waitress, nurse practitioners, electrical engineers, janitors, etc. The very reason you are sitting through these classes, debating long into the night about the extent of the atonement, reading in that coffee shop for hours is to cause men and women to worship and be satisfied in the majesty of Christ as revealed through the word that you are learning. What you are doing here is kingdom work! It is not a piece of paper that you will hang in your office (even though that is what some search committees might think), it is being filled with the knowledge of the Holy One to teach to others.
3. Get real life mentoring from an older, godlier saint. Get an older saint (the older and godlier the better!) into your life to spur you on, give you guidance, and set a real life pattern for life before your eyes. I have found this to be of so much benefit and so lacking in today’s evangelical culture. To be able to have an older man give me wisdom on issues ranging from fighting sin to how one pursues a woman to marry is a treasure. Also there is the immeasurable benefit when I get to watch how he manages his house hold and serves his family. Real life examples are so important to my future as a husband and father and minister. So when you get involved in a local church take initiative to ask an older godlier person of the same gender as you to mentor you.
4. Keep the glory of God central. You’re at Bible College for a reason, not to just go to classes and get a piece of paper. You are here to show yourself well approved to serve a local body for the glory of the One who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light. You are not here to be viewed highly in the sight of men, to become smarter than your average church goers, or to be the next major figure in the evangelical culture. You are here to please your Savior by becoming a humble, well equipped shepherd and teacher of His flock that He bought with His own blood.
Hopefully by doing these things the tool of Bible College will be kept in its place for you. If used with these other things your time at Bible College will produce rich rewards of sanctification and growth in the knowledge of the Lord. There are other principles that can be added to this list as well but as I search my mind and my past two years of being up here at Boyce College, these come to mind as the most beneficial. Soli Deo Gloria!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I know a lot of people out there scared they gone die
Couple of em thinking they'll be livin in the sky
But while I'm here livin man I gotta ask why, what am here fo I gotta figure out
Waste my life
No I gotta make it count
If Christ is real then what am I gone do about
All of the things in Luke 12:15 down to 21
You really oughta go and check it out
Paul said if Christ ain't resurrect then we wasted our lives
Well that implies that our life's built around Jesus being alive
Everyday I'm living tryin show the world why
Christ is more than everything you'll ever try
Better than pretty women and sinning and living to get a minute of any women and men that you admire
Ain't no lie
We created for Him
Outta the dust he made us for Him
Elects us and he saves us for Him
Jesus comes and raises for Him
Magnify the Father why bother with something lesser
He made us so we could bless Him and to the world we confess him
So I know I got life
Matter fact better man I know I got Christ
If you don't' see His ways in my days and nights
You can hit my brakes you can stop my lights
Man I lost my rights
I lost my life
Forget the money cars and toss that ice
The cost is Christ
And they could never offer me anything on the planet that'll cost that price.
Don't wanna waste my life
Yeah do it for Christ
you trying to figure what to do with your life
You makin money hope you doing it right because the money is Gods you better steward it right
You Stay focused, you ain't got no ride
Your life ain't wrapped up in what you drive
The clothes you wear, the job you work
The color your skin naw, you Christian first
People get a living life for a job
Make a lil money start living for a car
Get em a wife house kids and a dog
When they retire they living high on the hog
But guess what they didn't ever really live at all
To live is Christ yeah that's Paul I recall
To die is gain so for Christ we give it all
He's the treasure you'll never find in the mall
Your money your singleness marriage talent and time
They were loaned to you to show the world that Christ is Divine
That's why it's Christ in my rhymes
That's why it's Christ all the time
My whole world is built around him He's the life in my lines
I refused to waste my life
He's too true ta chase That ice
Heres my gifts and time cause I'm constantly trying to be used to praise the Christ
If he's truly raised to life
Then this news should change your life
And by his grace you can put your faith in place that rules your days and nights.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
“The Mature Christian is easily edified”
And that quote really struck my heart.
What it is saying is that the mature Christian does not have to have anything expect gospel truth to find his or her spirit up lifted. He or she does not have to be in the best situation, hear it from the speaker, or put in the most artistic language to be edified.
This convicted me because how many times have I found myself saying in my heart, “This is great truth, but if the pastor would just be a better speaker my heart would be jumping at this truth.” Or how many times has my mind just stayed dull during gospel saturated music because the music style just wasn’t upbeat enough. I know I can get this way during worship services when the regular worship band is not in and it is just a guy with a guitar up on stage. I found myself more than once amazed at my spiritual immaturity at having my heart remain still during songs like “And Can it Be” because there is not a very good back beat. So many times I am not easily edified!
But I am "easily" so many other things. So as Justin Taylor accessed about himself so the same can be said of me, I am
Oh, Lord, make my heart soft to your gospel and hard to sin!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
So I wanted to share the two papers I wrote in hopes that they will benefit you spiritually and allow people to helpfully critic my writing if needed.
CONVERSION OF SAUL: ACTS 9:1-9
THE INVASION OF THE GOSPEL AMONGST THE PAGAN INTELLECTUALS:ACTS 17:16-34
I have another paper I will be getting back soon with hopes of sharing it then.
(Note: the Conversion of Saul paper did not stay corrected when published for some strange reason. So the Bibliography and notes are messed up, but they should still be discernible. Sorry.)
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The first one is by Dr. Seyoon Kim on the centrality of the cross in one's theology and the necessity of penal substitution to our understanding of the cross. I would level it a very important read regarding the question of penal substitutionary atonement. Dr. Kim gives and superb defense of this glorious doctrine. It is entitled "The Atoning Death of Christ on the Cross." You find it here.
From the conclusion
Thus, when the doctrine of Christ's penal substitutionary atonement on the cross—and the doctrine of justification that issues from it—is properly expounded, it can integrate the Christus victor motif in itself and provide the adequate basis for sanctification or imitatio Christi…Evangelicals, if they are to be true to their historic identity, should not succumb to any polemics based on distorted versions of the Biblical doctrine of Christ's penal substitutionary atonement, nor yield to the attempts to marginalize it for the sake of the (independent) Christus victor theory or the (biblically questionable) moral influence/example theory. Rather, they must uphold the doctrine, expounding it fully and celebrating the grace of God that it highlights.
The second is by Dr. James Hamilton on the book of Song of Songs. It is entitles, "The Messianic Music of the Song of Songs: a Non-Allegorical Interpretation." You can find it here.
I found Dr. Hamilton's take to be insightful and refreshing. There seems to be two extremes regarding the book of Song of Solomon, one is to just make it into a big allegory of Christ and the church and the other one is to make it into a steamy honeymoon scene. I personally don't like either of those. "Rather, this study pursues an interpretation that sees the Song in the light of the messianic expectations evident in the OT canon." (from the article). I liked the balance where both the reality of the figures is kept and a connection with God's salvific plans is made. And I believe Dr. Hamilton has done both.
You can find more of Dr. Hamilton's writings at his blog.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:24-25)
God’s aseity, it is the doctrine that God is completely sufficient in and of Himself. He does not need anything. He does not need our works or worship to make Him complete.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine. (Ps. 50:8-12)
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. (1 Chr. 29:14)
For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Cor 4:7)
John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. (John 3:27)
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: (1 Peter 4:10)
The Almighty Lord is not one that is dependent on man to supply His needs. He would suffer no loss if He let each one of us cease to exist. He would continue to be as fully God and satisfied as He is while we are alive. He does not need our worship, our relationship with Him, our services, our existence, anything! For everything that we can give to Him is supplied by Him. God just receives what He Himself has given to us.
He is God, and completely sufficient in and of Himself. And thus God speaks about Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:1-3)
But should it not be mind blowing that only eleven verses later this is written about this God,
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ( John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. (John 1:14-18)
The Lord who needed nothing, stepped down into humanity to lavish grace upon grace to us! This is not some expedient business deal from God where He comes to give to humanity in hopes that He will receive something in return. For He needs nothing! This is just total grace! Unmerited, undeserved, against all rational, grace!
And such is the nature of God’s grace. It is not part of some epic transaction where God gives in hopes to find satisfaction. God grace is the over flow of His already sufficient fullness toward those who do not deserve it.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
To serve the Lord aright:
And what she has she misapplies,
For want of clearer light.
How long beneath the law I lay
In bondage and distress;
I toll'd the precept to obey,
But toil'd without success.
Then, to abstain from outward sin
Was more than I could do;
Now, if I feel its power within,
I feel I hate it too.
Then all my servile works were done
A righteousness to raise;
Now, freely chosen in the Son,
I freely choose His ways.
"What shall I do," was then the word,
"That I may worthier grow?"
"What shall I render to the Lord?"
Is my inquiry now.
To see the law by Christ fulfilled
And hear His pardoning voice,
Changes a slave into a child,
And duty into choice.
Friday, May 15, 2009
The desire of women to look beautiful is not new. But according to YWCA Chief Executive, Dr. Lorraine Cole, what is new is the unrealistic standard of physical beauty which is relentlessly pushed on females, and the sheer extent to which women and girls are now willing to go to achieve this goal.
I think it would very beneficial for us guys to recognize the enormous amount pressure our sisters in Christ feel (and some give way to ) too meet today's standards of beauty. And we should also realize what the culture sees as beautiful: “physical and/or sexual attractiveness” (from the post). So read the post and start to see some of the burdens placed on women.
Not only, however, should we be informed, but we must watch our own hearts. (Notice that I am going to ask, “How much”, because it is impossible to be a male in this culture and not be affected by this!)
- How much of today’s standards of beauty (sexiness) color our view of women? How much is "sexiness" or "hotness" a main concern in our understanding of womanhood?
- Do we remind ourselves as well that women displayed on movies and ads show a standard of beauty that no normal woman can attain?
- How much are we acting like the culture by placing "sexiness" on the top of our "future wife" description list?
Friday, April 24, 2009
The messages from the Gospel Coalition are available for download.
Tim Keller: The Grand Demythologizer: The Gospel and Idolatry
John Piper: Feed the Flame of God's Gift: Unashamed Courage in the Gospel
Mark Driscoll: Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth. And here is the written list of who negative people and positive people are, that Mark refers to in his message.
K. Edward Copeland: Shadowlands: Pitfalls and Parodies of Gospel-Centered Ministry
Bryan Chapell: Preach the Word!
Phil Ryken: The Pattern of Sound Words
Hopefully the other message will be up soon. You can find all of these sermons here.
Update: Justin Taylor has posted all the messages at his site.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Blake's goal for this project was to use music to capture and convey the grace of God in the life of St. Augustine. During his first masters degree at seminary, he was assigned to read The Confessions of St. Augustine for a course in church history. From the outset, he was less than enthused. Largely unfamiliar with the theological writings of the early church, Blake had yet to see the value in reading such an antiquated work, especially one originally written in Latin. The whole thing just seemed sort of disconnected.
Then he read it.
What Blake found in reading that book was phenomenal. He saw the beauty of the gospel on display through a very genuine, very personal testimony. He saw the wonder of the grace of God in triumph over the power of sin through superior joy. While he did not embrace all of Augustine's theological positions (especially on matters like the sacraments) he did very much identify with Augustine's description of the bondage of the will. And even more so, he marveled at the description of sin's dismay in light of the supreme joy of knowing God. So much so that he began writing songs about it. With a tight schedule and an even tighter budget, Blake began to record those songs in his apartment. The result of that is on his newly released album, "Songs of a Pious Heart: A Tribute to the Confessions of St. Augustine."
You can buy the CD off his site or buy the MP3s from Amazon.
Friday, April 10, 2009
And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.
And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.
And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:13-39)
Thursday, April 9, 2009
want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (Phil 1:12-14)
What are the purposes of my circumstances? Why do I live now, in this time, in this place, with this status?
My initial response would probably be something of the Lord’s working. He is sovereign and determines the boundaries of our lives. He chooses where we are born, who we are born to, and what genes and cultural influences mix in us to mold our inclinations.
That is a good answer for sure! But if I am honest with myself I live as if there are other reasons. There is the pride that makes me want others to look upon me with laud and honor. So I am where I am to make myself into the greatest bible teacher and servant the world has yet to see. There is my selfishness that is only concerned with my well being. My friends and gifts are all around me for the purpose of making my life happier and more satisfying. But if they ever cease performing this task I have little use for them. And both of these evil characteristics flow from the idolatry of “me”. My fame, my well being, is the doctrine of this religion that wars against the worship of the one true living God.
But what thanks flows from my heart to Him who has mercifully and graciously took up His sovereign sword of salvation against this religion! And on the cross He struck the death blow to this religion! And now I war against the last futile attempts by the religion of “me” to rule me. But while its defeat is sure, it is putting up one monstrous fight! I still desire fame and well being.
But I am thankful that there is an in break of a new kingdom and the desires it brings are beautiful and satisfying. And I saw these desire in the text quoted above. Here was the Apostle Paul in the midst of an unpleasurable circumstance. Imprisoned for the sake of the gospel, he was living in a place where the old religion of “me” would cringe to be. But because of a new king, a new One to worship Paul’s desires reflect a heavenly existence.
First Paul is enthralled by the advance of the gospel by His circumstances. There was no worship of himself, all he saw was the fame of his new King spreading, and it pleased him! So much that he was glad to remain in this situation as long as the fame of King Jesus grew.
And then second, Paul’s heart was now for other people. Why? Because the one he now worshiped displayed His unparalleled mercy to people. God is involved with the salvation of particular persons. And So Paul’s concern is to see people mature in Christ. Even though His selfishness screams injustice at his circumstance, his heart jumps at the sight of people becoming bold of the Savor.
Oh, may I be like Paul who hates his old religious ways and joyfully worship my new King and so be conformed to His ways. So that, in whatever circumstance I am placed, my desires would reflect His desires to see His named glorified in the salvation of sinners and my heart satisfied in such glorification.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Dr. Schreiner is a brilliant scholar and real example to the flock of Christ in His life. I have greatly benefited from everything that I have read or listen to from Him.
Two books of his that I am going through right now:
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Without him I stand far off, a stranger, and outcast;
in him I draw near and touch his kingly sceptre.
Without him I dare not lift up my guilty eyes;
in him I gaze upon my Father-God and Friend.
Without him I hide my lips in trembling shame;
in him I open my mouth in petition and praise.
Without him is gaping hell below me, and eternal anguish;
in him its gates are barred to me by his precious blood.
Without him darkness spreads its horrors in front;
in him an eternity of glory is my boundless horizon.
Without him all within me is terror and dismay,
in him every accusation is charmed into joy and peace.
Without him all things external call for my condemnation;
in him they minister to my comfort,
and are enjoyed with thanksgiving.
Praise be to thee for grace,
and for the unspeakable gift of Jesus.
From, The Valley of Vision: Privileges
Sunday, February 22, 2009
You can listen to sermons by Dr. Jones over at OnePlace.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
It is being said that the chief need of the Church today is to repent because of its 'lack of unity'...we would suggest that before she repents of her disunity, she must repent of her apostasy. She must repent of her perversion of, and substitutes for, 'the faith once delivered to the saints.' she must repent of setting up her own thinking and methods over against the divine revelation in Holy Scripture. Here lies the reason for her lack of spiritual power and inability to deliver a living message in the power of the Holy Ghost to a world ready to perish.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Thinking upon it, I could not help but to feel some irony in this inauguration and in man. Let me explain...
Here is America celebrating the first African American to be elected president. And this is of great importance! At one time ships would sail from our coast to Africa for the purpose of kidnapping black people. they would kidnap them and cram them into the hulls of their ships like sardines. There, some of these people would die in their own refuse! For those that did survive, they were sold to be slaves for the rest of their lives. For their entire lives they would be classified as sub-human and work tirelessly until they died. But all of this has been completely over turned with the inauguration of Obama! Now, part of a race that was once deemed sub-human, he takes his place as the leader of the nation that classified his people as such, so long ago. Now a man who’s skin's color is black can be made president of the United States of America.
And as Christians we should rejoice with this! Those who's hearts hate injustice and love the dignity of human life should be very happy that God's common grace descended upon this nation and now one's value is not determined on the color of their skin. (of course I say this as being general and about the extent of the racism in America. Racism still exists. But it is not as prevalent and it is not to the horrible extent it was in the 1700s and 1800s).
Yet, here comes the irony,
With this evil passing away, a ominous evil is still among us and will grow because of the election of Obama. The evil that I am speaking of is abortion. Abortion is the hideous practice of murdering a child in the womb because they are unwanted by their mother. And Obama has pledge to be for abortion. He will be for laws that keeps it legal and remove any restrictions placed on it by the states.
Thus with the passing of one great evil comes the sustaining of another great evil. It the same snap shot we see the passing of the great evil slavery and the acceptance of abortion. Both are wicked acts against a human being. But as this culture shouts for the destruction of one it willing embraces another. (And some people like to talk about mankind progressing!)
Evil is in the very heart of man and no matter what he does it will still be there. Even when he is celebrating the removal of one evil he is praising the practicing of another.
as it is written:
None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom 3:10-18)
This is man and the place where he lives. He tries to setup his own laws and rules by which to live. But justice shows that it is all a sham in the end. In the end, there is no hope in man’s kingdom!
But there is another kingdom that has invaded! This kingdom is not of this world. This kingdom was proclaimed by a peasant man who lived in the land of Palestine 2000 years ago. He came declaring a message of repentance. For a kingdom was coming and would come. But unlike man’s kingdom, full of its hypocrisy, this kingdom does not let one iota or dot go unfulfilled from the law of God. It is perfect in upholding what God has declared. It is perfectly just and righteous in its rulings. And the man declaring the coming of this kingdom was Jesus.
But there is a problem for us. This kingdom that has invaded is the true kingdom of this world. For this kingdom is God’s kingdom. God is coming back to claim what is His. Man’s kingdom is actually a charade. For it is a kingdom set up in rebellion against the true king and ruler. It is man looking his creator in the face and saying, “I don’t want you to rule me!” And God’s answer to this is not one of passivity. God is just and will not let rebellion go unpunished. That is why one of the defining aspects of this coming kingdom is Jesus, at the end of time, casting the chaff (all those that still rebel against him) into unquenchable fire (Matt. 3:12).
But there is another aspect of this invaded kingdom. For the same one that came declaring this kingdom willing let himself be murdered on a cross! Why?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18))
How wonderful and mysterious this is. The same king that is coming to judge, came to give His life as a ransomed! So that those there were rebels could forsake their sins and come into this new kingdom. For Jesus did not stay dead but rose again the third day so that we know that He was God and all that He said on earth is true. All those that see what God has done for them in sending His Son, the second person in the trinity, to suffer the wrath for their rebellion, would turn from their rebellion and love Christ. And they are now part of Christ’s kingdom awaiting the day when Christ will return to establish His beautiful kingdom on earth.
Oh, how our hearts should long for the consummation of our Lord's kingdom! When Jesus returns we will not have to have a list of primary issues to think through. Everything that He will bring will be righteous and good. Every policy will be for our benefit by making us glorify the Father!
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:1-8)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Now 443 MP3s of Carson's teaching have been uploaded at the Gospel Coalition website. And they are all for free!
It looks to be a very profitable conference. The plenary speakers will be Bryan Chapell, D.A. Carson, John Piper, K. Edward Copeland, Ligon Duncan, Mark Driscoll, Phil Ryken, Tim Keller, and Ajith Fernando. Then there is a host of other speaks teaching work shops.
What is most exciting about this conference is that we will being going through one book of the Bible. unlike other conferences that have each speaker preach on one topic, every lecture (except for the first and last one) will be an exposition on 2 Timothy.
If any of you have an interest in going I have a group going from Boyce and I have attain free lodging. You can just give me you info in the comment section.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
[writing about Eph 3:18-19] BREADTH, LENGTH, DEPTH, and HEIGHT...They are made use of to shew to the Ephesians, that God with what he is in himself, and with what he hath in his power, is all for the use and profit of the believers. Else no great matter is held out to them thereby. "But this God is our God!" there is the comfort: For this cause therefore he presenteth them with this description of him. To wit, by breadth, and length, and depth, and height: As who should say, the High God is yours; the God that fills heaven and earth is yours; the God whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, is yours; yea, the God whose works are wonderful, and whose ways are past finding out, is yours. Consider therefore the greatness that is for you, that taketh part with you, and that will always come in for your help against them that contend with you. It is my support, it is my relief; it [is] my comfort in all my tribulations, and I would have it ours, and so it will when we live in the lively faith thereof. Nor should we admit of distrust in this matter from the consideration of our own unworthiness, either taken from the finiteness of our state, or the foulness of our ways (Psa 46). For now, though God's attributes, several of them in their own nature, are set against sin and sinners; yea, were we righteous, are so high that needs they must look over us, for 'tis to him a condescension to behold things in heaven: How much more then to open his eyes upon such as we: yet by the passion of Jesus Christ, they harmoniously agree in the salvation of our souls. Hence God is said to be love (1 John 4), God is love; might some say, and justice too: but his justice is turned with wisdom, power, holiness and truth, to love; yea, to love those that be found in his Son: forasmuch as there is nothing fault-worthy in his righteousness which is put upon us. So then, as there is in God's nature a length, and breadth, and depth, and height, that is beyond all that we can think: So we should conclude that all this is love to us, for Christ's sake; and then dilate with it thus in our minds, and enlarge it thus in our meditations; saying still to our low and trembling spirits: "It is high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? the measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea" (Job 11:8,9).
Monday, January 12, 2009
I just purchased the CD about a week ago and it is one of the best that I own. Not only is it a great line up of worship songs but you get to hear the voices of 6,000 godly men sing praises to the King of kings. I highly recommend it!
(If you can't buy the CD just yet you can still download the three songs that did not fit on the CD for free.)
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Observe, concerning the first advent, that the Lord was moving in it towards man. ‘When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son.’ We moved not towards the Lord, but the Lord towards us. I do not find that the world in repentance sought after its Maker. No, but the offended God himself in infinite compassion broke the silence, and came forth to bless his enemies. All good things begin with him.
I once knew a good woman who was the subject of many doubts, and when I got to the bottom of her doubt, it was this: she knew she loved Christ, but she was afraid he did not love her. ‘Oh!’ I said, ‘that is a doubt that will never trouble me; never, by any possibility, because I am sure of this, that the heart is so corrupt, naturally, that love to God never did get there without God putting it there.’ You may rest quite certain, that if you love God, it is a fruit, and not a root. It is the fruit of God’s love to you, and did not get there by any the force of any goodness in you. You may conclude, with absolute certainty, that God loves you if you love God.