Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Five Illegal Uses of the Law"

Now, I'm not a Lutheran, but would find myself closest, theologically, to the Reformed Baptists. But, that being said, I think that Lutheran minister Bryan Wolfmueller makes a really good point.

Five Illegal Uses of the Law by Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller

"There are three good and legitimate uses of the Lord's law, the curb, mirror and guide. As a curb the Lord's law orders the things of creation and keeps society from chaos. As a mirror the law shows us our sin and our need for Jesus and His mercy and salvation. As a guide the law gives shape to our Christian love for our neighbor. These uses or functions of the law are good and right, they are the reasons that the Lord gave His law to humanity.

But more often than not the law of God is misused. Instead of the Lord using the law on us, we take up the law and use it ourselves, on God or on our neighbor. We could call this the 'illegal use of the law.' Here are five examples to consider."

Read the rest here.

Quotes (#10)

"The fundamental fault of the modern Church is that she is busily engaged in an absolutely impossible task--she is busily engaged in calling the righteous to repentance. Modern preachers are trying to bring men into the Church without requiring them to relinquish their pride; they are trying to help men avoid the conviction of sin. The preacher gets up into the pulpit, opens the Bible, and addresses the congregation somewhat as follows: 'You people are very good,' he says; 'you respond to every appeal that looks toward the welfare of the community. Now we have in the Bible--especially in the life of Jesus--something so good that we believe it is good enough even for you good people.' Such is modern preaching. It is heard every Sunday in thousands of pulpits. But it is entirely futile. Even our Lord did not call the righteous to repentance, and probably we shall be no more successful than He."- J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tim Conway on the Power & Offense of the Cross

In Psalm 32:1-2, we read: "Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,and in whose spirit there is no deceit."

In this sermon, Tim Conway explains the brutality, power, and indeed, the offense of of the cross, upon which Jesus died, for the sins of those who believe. As Paul put it: "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.'" (1st Corinthians 1:18-19). Furthermore: "...Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (1st Cor. 1:22-24)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Quotes (#10)

"Without any of their choosing, millions will be branded for the Antichrist one day. Shall we shrink to bear in our spirits, our souls, and our bodies our Owner’s marks -- the marks of Jesus? Branded means pain. Do we want that? Branded means carrying the slur of the servant. Will we choose to be branded -- for Christ?"-Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Public Rebuke of a False Prophet

Some of my readers may or may not be aware of the past shenanigans of Todd Bentley at his 2008 "Outpouring" in Lakeland, Florida. For those interested, I would strongly advice watching this video in which Ingrid Schlueter discusses the matter with pastors John Sharpe and Ken Silva. They also discuss the occultic influence in 2008 in the "Revival"

Anyway, to give a brief background of the issue raised, was the fact that Bentley had divorced his wife, and married his mistress, his childrens' nanny. Despite the scandal, and his brief embarassment, he was restored.

Now, this second part are interviews with the people who publicly rebuked him, after these people were hustled out. In it, they discuss their concerns regarding Bentley, as well as their motives.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eternal Security

One dispute that has been going on for a considerable amount of time is on whether a believer can lose their salvation, or, once someone is saved, do they remain saved. One argument that some who argue that one can lose their salvation, is based off the notion that it gives license to sin. Admittedly, there are people who use eternal security, or the notion of being “once-saved, always saved,” to justify their carnality.

But, I firmly believe that when one is truly born-again, they will remain saved. Now, this isn’t an exhaustive study on the subject. However, we read two verses quoting Christ Himself.

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:37-40)

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one." (John 10:27-30)

The Apostle Paul writes: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?...For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35 & 38-39)

Now, with that being said, I believe we need to address two things. First of all, we need to address God’s role in salvation, as well as the doctrines of election and predestination. Jesus Himself said that true Christians are given to Him by the Father (John 6:37 and John 10:29)

Furthermore, in regards to predestination, we read: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30)

In Ephesians, we read: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved….In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:3-7 & 11-14)

Initially, I said that there are two issues we need to work through, one being the God’s sovereignty in salvation. The second issue I wish to bring up is the necessity of fruit, brought by regeneration and sanctification.

We get a picture of regeneration in the Book of Ezekiel: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

Famously, Paul wrote: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

We also read, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16-25)

In Matthew 3, John the Baptist rebuked the Pharisees and the Sadducees, famously calling them a “brood of vipers” (Matt. 3:7) and he admonished them: “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance….Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”(Matthew 3:8 & 10) In similar language, Jesus Himself states:“ every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:17-19)

I’m also going to note the writing in 1st John: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”(1st John 5:1-6)

James writes: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?... So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead….But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:18-19)

You may ask: why am I bringing this up? Because, true Christians will show continuous fruit. I base this off of the Jesus’ explanation of the sower and the seed: "Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty." (Matthew 13:18-23)

John writes: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.” (1st John 2:19-20)

So, when someone makes a profession of faith, shows some fruit at first, but then goes back to the world, the question shouldn’t be: “can this person lose their salvation,” but rather, “were they truly saved to begin with.?”

I conclude with a quote from the Puritan Thomas Watson (1620-1686): "When God calls a man, He does not repent of it. God does not, as many friends do, love one day, and hate another; or as princes, who make their subjects favourites, and afterwards throw them into prison. This is the blessedness of a saint; his condition admits of no alteration. God's call is founded on His decree, and His decree is immutable. Acts of grace cannot be reversed. God blots out his people's sins, but not their names."

Friday, February 12, 2010

John MacArthur on False Converts

I think that John MacArthur makes some good points in this message. Perhaps it's almost unecessary to quote this passage: "On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'" (Matthew 7:22-23)

A Post on Pastors

It seems that increasingly we have pastors who aren’t doing their duties as pastors. Just this week, it was revealed on a news network that a certain pastor in Texas was living high on the hog. He has a 7,800 square foot house, a $240,0000 a year parsonage allowance, a million dollar a year pastor’s salary, and, unbeknownst to his congregation, he was leasing an private jet. Then of course, we have folks like Rob Bell, who are leading people into Emergent, liberal, post-modernism, post-modernism arguing that we can’t know absolute truth. Then there are folks like Joel Osteen and Robert Schuller who make almost NO mention of sin, nor the necessity to repent and receive the forgiveness of sins won by Jesus Christ on the cross.

I think that the late Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994) summed up the problem well: “It is because so many untaught men, unregenerate men, now occupy the pulpits that ‘another gospel’ (Gal. 1:6) is being so widely and generally disseminated. Multitudes who have neither ‘tasted that the Lord is gracious’ nor have ‘the fear of the Lord’ in them, have from various motives and considerations invaded the sacred calling of the ministry and out of the abundance of their corrupt hearts they speak. Being blind themselves, they lead the blind into the ditch. Having no love for the Shepherd they have none for the sheep, being but ‘hirelings.’ They are themselves ‘of the world’ and therefore ‘the world heareth them’ (1 John 4:5), for they preach that which is acceptable unto fallen human nature and as like attracts like, they gather around themselves a company of admirers who flatter and support them. They will bring in just enough of God’s Truth to deceive the unwary and give an appearance of orthodoxy to their message, but not sufficient of the Truth, especially the searching portions thereof, to render their hearers uncomfortable by destroying their false peace. They will name Christ but not preach Him, mention the Gospel but not expound it.”

Similarly, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) observed: “Many preachers are very superior persons; and so, when they get God's message, they correct it, and interpolate their own ideas; they dream that the old gospel cannot be quite suitable to these enlightened days, when ‘everything is done by steam, and men are killed by powder.’ They not only interpolate, but they omit, because they judge that certain truths have become obsolete by the lapse of time. In this way, what with additions and subtractions, little is left of the pure Word of God.”

Yet, the approach taken in Scripture towards pastors, referred to as “overseer” in Scripture, is starkly different than what’s becoming increasingly popular, and I say this as a young layman.

Now, first off, we must look at the qualifications for being a pastor, as laid out by the Apostle Paul in Scripture.
“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.” (1st Timothy 3:1-7)

“For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.” (Titus 1:7-8)

Peter writes
“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” (1st Peter 5:1-4)

Now, let us look at the duties of a pastor.
Paul writes to Timothy: “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” (1st Timothy 1:3-7)

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
(1st Timothy 4:12-16)

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2nd Timothy 4:1-5)

“He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:9)

“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior….Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” (Titus 2:1-10 & 15)

Now, I would also like to add this:“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The laborer deserves his wages.’ Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.” (1st Timothy 5:17-20)

Now, of course, that being said, we as Christians, are to be therefore, respectful to our pastors (Titus 2:15), as they have authority (also in Titus 2:15)

To finish off this post, I would like to quote parts of Charles Spurgeon’s admonition to preachers: “We must, I say, first, make great efforts to acquire information, especially of a Biblical kind. We must not confine ourselves to one topic of study, or we shall not exercise our whole mental manhood…. Study the Bible, dear brethren, through and through, with all helps that you can possibly obtain…. Be well instructed in theology, and do not regard the sneers of those who rail at it because they are ignorant of it. Many preachers are not theologians, and hence the mistakes which they make. It cannot do any hurt to the most lively evangelist to be also a sound theologian, and it may often be the means of saving him from gross blunders… Brethren, we shall not adjust our Bible to the age; but before we have done with it, by God's grace, we shall adjust the age to the Bible….I shall not attempt to teach a tiger the virtues of vegetarianism; but I shall as hopefully attempt that task as I would try to convince an unregenerate man of the truths revealed by God concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment to come. These spiritual truths are repugnant to carnal men, and the carnal mind cannot receive the things of God. Gospel truth is diametrically opposed to fallen nature; and if I have not a power much stronger than that which lies in moral suasion, or in my own explanations and arguments, I have undertaken a task in which I am sure of defeat…. Except the Lord endow us with power from on high, our labour must be in vain, and our hopes must end in disappointment…. If there is to be a Divine result from God's Word, the Holy Ghost must go forth with it…. In order to have the Holy Spirit with us, there must be a very close adhesion to the truth of God, with clearness, boldness, and fidelity in the utterance of it.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Quotes (#9)

"As a matter of fact, however, in the modern vituperation of 'doctrine,' it is not merely the great theologians or the great creeds that are being attacked, but the New Testament and our Lord Himself. In rejecting doctrine, the liberal preacher is rejecting the simple words of Paul' 'Who loved me and gave Himself for me,' just as much as the homoousion of the Nicene Creed. For the word 'doctrine' is really used not in its narrowest, but in its broadest sense. The liberal preacher is really rejecting the whole basis of Christianity, which is a religion founded not on aspirations, but on facts. Here is found the most fundamental difference between liberalism and Christianity--liberalism is altogether in the imperative mood, while Christianity begins with a triumphant indicative; liberalism appeals to man's will, while Christianity announces, first, a gracious act of God."- J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tim Conway on the Will of God

In this Bible study, Tim Conway speaks on how we, as Christians, can know & discern the Will of God.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Who Is Jesus?

In Matthew 24, we have Jesus Himself, in His Mount Olivet Discourse, regarding the end times, telling His disciples: "See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray...Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, 'Look, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out. If they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it." (Matthew 24:4 & 23-26)

And, it seems that we have a whole bunch of false Christs running around today, namely in the cults & in other world religions. The "Jesus" of Islam, "Isa", is only a prophet. To the Mormons, "Jesus" is the son of God by a sexual relationship between God the Father (an exalted man) and the Virgin Mary, He was the spirit brother of Lucifer, and during his time on earth, Jesus was married to three women: Mary, Martha and Mary Magdeline. The Jehovah's Witnesses deny the divinity of Christ, the physical ressurection, teach that Christ was the Archangel Michael and that Christ returned spiritually in 1914. To the Christian Scientists, Jesus is only "divine principle." Many, like a lot of the New Agers, will say that Christ was only a good teacher, and deny that He's the only way to Salvation.

Yet, in our study of the Christian doctrines of Christ, I hope to lay down at least some of the doctrines regarding our Lord and Savior. Technically, this study is known as "Christology," and admittedly, I'm not going to nail down every doctrine regarding Christ.

First off we read of His Diety

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." (Micah 5:2)

“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….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 1:1-4 & 14)

“’My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.’ The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.’" (John 10:29-34)

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” (Colossians 1:15-18)

We Read of His Humanity

Now, in the Gospels, we read that He wept (John 11:35), He was tempted (Matthew 4:1, Mark 1:13 & Luke 4:2), He grew tired (John 4:6) & He slept (Matthew 8:42).

As mentioned before, John stated: “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 1:14)

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-7)

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

In response to the Gnostic heresy, John wrote: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (2nd John 1:7)

He Took Upon our Sin to Propitiate God’s Wrath & Was a Sacrifice for Sins

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all…. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:4-6 & 10-12)

“…It [faith] will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:24-25)

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2nd Corinthians 5:21)

“He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.” (Hebrews 7:27)

“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." (Hebrews 10:11-14)

The Importance of His Raising from the Dead

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles…. Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." (1st Corinthians 5:3-9 & 12-19)

He’s the ONLY Way to Salvation and the ONLY Way to God the Father

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’" (John 14:6-7)

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:11-13)

“Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1st John 2:22-23)

He’s our High Priest and Intercessor

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…” (1st Timothy 2:5)

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” (Hebrews 4:14)

“Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.” (Hebrews 8:1-2)

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1st John 2:1)

He Will Return Bodily and in Glory

“Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward…. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.” (Zechariah 14:3-5)

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31)

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Friday, February 5, 2010

john 3:16

Martin Luther on Roman Catholicism

When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenburg in 1517, admittedly, corruption was running rampant. However, that being said, the Roman Catholic Church today still preaches doctrines contrary to orthodox Christianity.

The Reformation View of Roman Catholicism
From the works of Martin Luther (1483-1546)

"What is the whole papacy but a beautiful false front and a deceptively glittering holiness under which the wretched devil lies in hiding? The devil always desires to imitate God in this way. He cannot bear to observe God speaking. If he cannot prevent it or hinder God’s Word by force, he opposes it with a semblance of piety, takes the very words God had spoken and so twist them as to peddle his lies and poison under their name." (What Luther Says, II: 10007)

"Since the papal church not only neglects the command of Christ but even compels the people to ignore it and to act against it, it is certain that it is not Christ’s church but the synagogue of Satan which prescribes sin and prohibits righteousness. It clearly and indisputably follows that it must be the abomination of Antichrist and the furious harlot of the devil." (What Luther Says, II: 1019)

"The negotiation about doctrinal agreement displeases me altogether, for this is utterly impossible unless the pope has his papacy abolished. Therefore avoid and flee those who seek the middle of the road. Think of me after I am dead and such middle-of-the-road men arise, for nothing good will come of it. There can be no compromise." (What Luther Says, II: 1019)

Read the rest here

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

John MacArthur on Bad Heremeneutics

Increasingly this is become a big problem these days. It seems like we have people ripping passages out of context, twisting God's Word, or just outright making stuff up about God, via Scripture. I forget who said it, but I remember hearing a quote, which goes along the lines of: "A verse without context is a pretext."

Kim Riddlebarger on Sanctification

I think that Dr. Riddlebarger makes some really good points in this article on sanctification

The Cause and the Effect
by Kim Riddlebarger

"Q. What is sanctification?

A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.

(Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A 35)

Several times I have heard Christians recite the following formula: “Christians are saved by grace, justified by faith, and sanctified by works.” On first hearing, this sounds right as the slogan attempts to capture three important biblical emphases. Yes, we are saved by grace and not by our works (Rom. 6:14; Eph. 2:8). Yes, the ground of our justification is the merit of Christ, which becomes ours through faith alone (Rom. 3:28; Gal. 2:16). And yes, good works will be found in the lives of those who are saved by grace and justified by faith (Eph. 2:10). But — and here is where the slogan takes us in the wrong direction — we are not sanctified by our good works.

This is a very important point and is often misunderstood by many. The reason why the last part of the above formula is incorrect (“sanctified by works”) is because when discussing sanctification, the formula confuses the cause (God’s grace) with the effect (good works). To put it another way, while the process of sanctification inevitably leads to the production of good works, good works do not produce our sanctification."

Read the rest here

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Roman Catholic View on Mary

If anything, perhaps the Roman Catholic Church is best known for their devotion to Mary. The Council of Ephesus in 431 AD established Mary as Θεοτόκος,translated as Theotókos, or basically, the "Mother of God."

In this series of lectures, Pastor John MacArthur exposes the idolatry of the worship of Mary in the Roman Catholic Church, and the Roman Catholic views on Mary. Now, you can either listen to the lectures, or read the transcripts of the lecture. But, anyway, part one provides an overview. Part two and part three deal with Roman Catholic dogma on Mary. Lastly, part four deals with a Biblical repsonse to cult of Mary in the Roman Catholic Church.

Now, I think that Charles Spurgeon accurately sums up whom we are to serve, trust and worship: "It is most glorifying to our Lord Jesus Christ that we should hope for every good thing from Him alone. This is to treat Him as He deserves to be treated; for as He is and beside him there is none else we are bound to look unto Him and be saved....The reason why we may hope for forgiveness of sin, and life eternal, by faith in the Lord Jesus, is that God has so appointed. He has pledged himself in the gospel to save all who truly trust in the Lord Jesus, and he will never run back from his promise. He is so well pleased with his only-begotten Son, that he takes pleasure in all who lay hold upon him as their one and only hope."

Furthermore, the late Dr. Walter Martin debated Father Mitchell Pacwa on the John Ankerberg Show back in the 1980's on the Roman Catholic teachings of Mary.

Quotes (#8)

"The reason why we may hope for forgiveness of sin, and life eternal, by faith in the Lord Jesus, is that God has so appointed. He has pledged himself in the gospel to save all who truly trust in the Lord Jesus, and he will never run back from his promise. He is so well pleased with his only-begotten Son, that he takes pleasure in all who lay hold upon him as their one and only hope. The great God himself has taken hold on him who has taken hold on his Son. He works salvation for all who look for that salvation to the once-slain Redeemer. For the honor of his Son, he will not suffer the man who trusts in him to be ashamed. 'He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life;' for the ever-living God has taken him unto himself, and has given to him to be a partaker of his life. If Jesus only be your trust, you need not fear but what you shall effectually be saved, both now and in the day of his appearing."-Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)