No One Can, Unless ….

“Nobody who has not the Spirit of God can see a jot of what is in the Scriptures. All men have their hearts darkened, so that even when they can discuss and quote all that is in Scripture, they do not understand or really know it… The Spirit is needed for the understanding of all Scripture and every part of Scripture.”

Martin Luther (The Bondage Of The Will)

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What Profit a Man?

I might say that nothing in the present life can make up for the loss of the soul. You may have all the riches of the world—all the gold of Australia and of California, all the honors which your country can bestow upon you. You may be the owner of half a continent. You may be one whom kings delight to honor, and nations gaze upon with admiration. But all this time, if you are losing your soul, you are a poor man in the sight of God. Your honors are but for a few years. Your riches must be left at last. Naked you came we into the world, and naked must you go out. No light heart, no cheerful conscience, will you have in life, unless your soul is saved. Of all your money or broad acres, you will carry nothing with you when you die. A few feet of earth will suffice to cover that body of yours when life is over. And then, if your soul be lost, you will find yourself a pauper to all eternity. Verily it shall profit a man nothing to gain the whole world if he loses his own soul.

JC Ryle (Our Souls)

Savoring His Glory

You can feel the hostility of the flesh whenever you approach God – it makes real love for Him into work: Digging around the Bible to find a juicy new insight to impress your small group is like sailing the Caribbean, but poring over the Scriptures to find the Lover of your soul is like skiing up Mount Everest.  Conjuring up a happy mood with some music you don’t even know the words to is like solving 2 + 2 with a calculator.  But savoring the glory of Christ and His tender love until your heart is softened toward Him is like using mental math to calculate pi to the thousandth place.  And giving a birthday present to your best friend is like forcing down some double-fudge brownies.  But giving up your extra bedroom to a homeless person in the name of Jesus is like eating the Rockies for breakfast.

 Kris Lundgaard (The Enemy Within)

Justice and Mercy at The Cross

Only the Christian gospel presents….a way in which justice and mercy kiss each other… First, Christianity confirms the fact that justice must be satisfied. Sin must be condemned according to its demerit. This means eternal doom. The sinner must be damned because God must be inexorably holy and just. His all-powerful Being must vindicate His all-holy Being. Christianity never compromises the ever-blessed purity and excellency of the divine nature. Second, Christianity alone finds a way to satisfy infinite justice and provide infinite mercy at the same time. What no other religion has dreamed of, Jesus Christ has accomplished. He underwent the infinite wrath of God against sin and lived to bestow His mercy on the damned sinners for whom He died. The infinite Son of God took upon Himself a human nature in which He underwent the full fury of the divine wrath. The omnipotent God satisfied His violated holiness by punishing sin completely in His blessed Son, who “became sin” for His people. The justice of God was vindicated in full in the substitute, His own Son, our Saviour dear. He survived that awful vengeance and rose victor over the grave by the power of His own divinity. Now He offers to every sin-sick and “pleasure” – burdened soul an everlasting mercy. Perfect mercy and perfect justice in the gospel of the crucified.

John Gerstner
The Problem of Pleasure, Soli Deo Gloria

“Close the front door and open the back door”

 

I reviewed some of the church growth material coming from our denominational headquarters. One publication said that, in order to get our churches growing again, we should “open the front doors and close the back doors”… What we actually need to do is to close the front door and open the back door!  If we really want to see our churches grow, we need to make it harder to join and we need to be better about excluding people. We need to be able to show that there is a distinction between the church and the world –  that it means something to be a Christian. If someone who claims to be a Christian refuses to live as a Christian should live, we need to follow what Paul said and, for the glory of God and for that person’s own good, we need to exclude him or her form membership in the church.

 Mark Dever  Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, Crossway, 2000, p. 156-157.

Theology Drives Methodology

I had the opportunity to meet and attended one of Jonathan (Jono)  Sims service in Tennessee. I appreciate him for preaching God’s word with passion and grace. May God continue to raise up preachers like Jono who stands for the truth with boldness and with a tender heart to shepherd God’s people.

Wrong Direction

Sadly, the influence has been in the wrong direction, as we see evidence that our culture has begun to permeate our churches. The church is seduced by the social agenda of wealth and pleasure, and has condoned sinful compromises. There is moral decay within the church, with highly publicized scandals involving ministers, and divorce statistics which are not much better than those outside the church. Think of all that we and our churches would have to repent of if a spirit of holiness began to captivate us. How can America be influenced by an inconsistent and hypocritical church?

 Erwin Lutzer
America’s Spiritual Crisis, Revival Commentary, v. 1, n. 2, p. 11.

 

Wisest Manner

Let Him therefore send and do what He will. By His grace, if we are His, we will face it, bow to it, accept it, and give thanks for it. God’s Providence is always executed in the “wisest manner” possible. We are often unable to see and understand the reasons and causes for specific events in our lives, in the lives of others, or in the history of the world. But our lack of understanding does not prevent us from believing God.

 Don Fortner

All Things Means All Things!

God “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). This “all things” includes the fall of sparrows (Matthew 10:29), the rolling of dice (Proverbs 16:33), the slaughter of his people (Psalm 44:11), the decisions of kings (Proverbs 21:1), the failing of sight (Exodus 4:11), the sickness of children (2 Samuel 12:15), the loss and gain of money (1 Samuel 2:7), the suffering of saints (1 Peter 4:19), the completion of travel plans (James 4:15), the persecution of Christians (Hebrews 12:4-7), the repentance of souls (2 Timothy 2:25), the gift of faith (Philippians 1:29), the pursuit of holiness (Philippians 3:12-13), the growth of believers (Hebrews 6:3), the giving of life and the taking in death (1 Samuel 2:6) and the crucifixion of his Son (Acts 4:27-28).

 John Piper

We FEAR People

 

1.  We fear people because they can expose and humiliate us.  
2.  We fear people because they can reject, ridicule, or despise us. 
3.  We fear people because they can attack, oppress, or threaten us. 

These three reasons have one thing in common:  they see people as “bigger” (that is, more powerful and significant) than God, and, out of the fear that creates in us, we give other people the power and right to tell us what to feel, think, and do.

Edward T. Welch (When People are Big and God is Small)

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