Thursday, June 30, 2011

moving from celebration to institutionalization

5887297979 Fd38Ae98C4John Piper writes Thought on the New Calamity in response to recent changes in the US in regard to sin.

First his opener - what a powerful statement!!!
Jesus died so that heterosexual and homosexual sinners might be saved. Jesus created sexuality, and has a clear will for how it is to be experienced in holiness and joy.
He then speaks to those who have walked into sin.
For those who have forsaken God’s path of sexual fulfillment, and walked into homosexual intercourse or heterosexual extramarital fornication or adultery, Jesus offers astonishing mercy.

"Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:11)
And then he focusses us on the issue at hand:
My sense is that we do not realize what a calamity is happening around us. The new thing—new for America, and new for history—is not homosexuality. That brokenness has been here since we were all broken in the fall of man. (And there is a great distinction between the orientation and the act—just like there is a great difference between my orientation to pride and the act of boasting.)

What’s new is not even the celebration of homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and reveled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia. What’s new is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity.
To which our response should be:
This is what I am writing for. Not political action, but love for the name of God and compassion for the city of destruction.

“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” (Psalm 119:136)

friends

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The opener for tonight's Small Group meeting is "What is the most tightly knit group you've ever been a part of? Why was/is that group so tight?" The text this week is Ephesians 4.1-6.

As I thought of this I remembered a post from 2005 in which Richard Lamb cited Aristotle in defining friendship; “…qualities enjoyed by friends that continue to be apt and helpful today: friends (1) enjoy one another, (2) are useful to one another, and (3) share a common commitment to “the good”."

I still agree.

coffee lover

I love my coffee. Here's everything you wanted to know about coffee but were afraid to ask.

hate sin

5886913907 Fb8Fb58410"Sin and departure from God, are the true reasons why people are everywhere laboring and heavy-laden. Sin is the universal disease which infects the whole earth. Sin brought in thorns and thistles at the beginning, and obliged man to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. Sin is the reason why the “whole creation groans and travails in pain,” and the “foundations of the earth are out of course.” (Rom. 8:22; Psalm 82:5.) Sin is the cause of all the burdens which now press down mankind. Most people know it not, and weary themselves in vain to explain the state of things around them. But sin is the great root and foundation of all sorrow, whatever proud man may think. How much people ought to hate sin!" ~ J.C. Ryle, Tract: Christ’s Invitation

HT:Erik

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

grace tweet

Grace-And-Greatness-1-Pic

"Grace is the pleasure of God to magnify the worth of God by enabling sinners to enjoy God without obscuring the glory of God." - John Piper tweet

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

adorned

5881218035 Cbf3133A9C“Who can understand the riches of the glory of this grace? Here this rich and divine bridegroom Christ marries this poor, wicked harlot, redeems her from all her evil, and adorns her with all his goodness. Her sins cannot now destroy her, since they are laid upon Christ and swallowed up by him. And she has that righteousness in Christ, her husband, of which she may boast as of her own and which she can confidently display alongside her sins in the face of death and hell and say, ‘If I have sinned, yet my Christ, in whom I believe, has not sinned, and all his is mine and all mine is his.’” – Martin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian

struggling with homosexuality

freedom2

From Al Mohler to those struggling with homosexuality:
I want to speak honestly to those who are struggling with homosexual affection. You must know that this is sin, and you must recognize that your affections are corrupted by sin. Even in your own heart, you can probably never even separate your desires and impulses in terms of inner motivation and affection. Like all of us, you are a sinner in the midst of a sinful world, but don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t change. Becoming heterosexual is not salvation, but the miracle of regeneration and sanctification will produce, by God’s grace, the right affections in your heart and desire. Knowing what God has declared to be objectively right and objectively wrong, we must direct ourselves—whether our sinful sexual profile be heterosexual or homosexual—toward the objective glory of God as revealed in his Word. We must claim the promises of God and seek God’s glory in every dimension of our being.
2004 Desiring God National Conference via Justin Taylor

Monday, June 27, 2011

words

The words we choose can have differing effects ...

counsel from the cross

Counsel-From-The-Cross-Bok“If we want to see God’s glory, if we long for ourselves and others to be transformed into godliness, we must dwell on the gospel, where his glory is most clearly seen. It is the gospel into which we are to look, and it is by the power of the gospel that we will be changed.” — Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson, Counsel from the Cross

HT:OFI

friendship of christ



Every true Christian has a Friend in heaven, of almighty power and boundless love. They are thought of, cared for, provided for, defended by God’s eternal Son. They have an unfailing Protector, who never slumbers or sleeps, and watches continually over their interests. The world may despise them, but they have no cause to be ashamed. Father and mother even may cast them out, but Christ having once taken them up, will never let them go. They are the friend of Christ even after they are dead! The friendships of this world are often fair-weather friendships, and fail us like summer-dried fountains, when our need is the greatest; but the friendship of the Son of God is stronger than death, and goes beyond the grave. The Friend of sinners is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother. ~ J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John, volume 2

HT:Erik

Saturday, June 25, 2011

first world problems

Yes - we do take a lot for granted ...

change for homosexuality

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"We know better than to say that people cannot change. We also know better than to believe that people can change themselves. As Jonathan Edwards made clear, we sin in our affections, and we do not even understand ourselves in terms of why we love the things we love and desire the things we desire. This is why we are so dependent upon the work of Christ in our lives and the continuing work of the Holy Spirit in reordering our affections. This is no easy process, but it is real and it is enduring.


Is our purpose to make homosexuals into heterosexuals? The answer to that question must be both yes and no. We must urgently urge all sinners to repent and abandon their sin, but convincing homosexuals to think of themselves as heterosexuals is not tantamount to salvation. We must be honest about the sinfulness of homosexuality in order that we can show homosexuals their need for salvation and the transforming power of Jesus Christ in their lives. We can promise that this power of transformation will, by the grace of God, lead to a reordering of their lives and require a turning away from the sins of their past. As Christians, coming for whatever our individual background in sin may be—we come under mutual accountability to the Word of God and his command in all things—including our sexuality."

Friday, June 24, 2011

justification v. sanctification

5867922186 551Bf8B8FdEd Stetzer writes:

The following list is taken from C.J. Mahaney's work, Living the Cross Centered Life (pages 118-119). Mahaney's comparisons offer a helpful way to look at the two doctrines.
  • Justification is being declared righteous. Sanctification is being made righteous - being conformed to the image of Jesus.
  • Justification is our position before God, a position that becomes permanently ours at the time of our conversion. Sanctification is our practice that continues throughout our life on earth.
  • Justification is immediate and complete upon conversion. You'll never be more justified that you are the first moment you trust in the Person and finished work of Christ.
  • Sanctification is a progressive process. You'll be more sanctified as you continue in grace motivated obedience.
  • Justification is objective - Christ's work for us. Sanctification is subjective - Christ's work within us.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

your old self

“Your old self” (Eph 4:22). Paul refers to the sin nature which is set on a course of corruption. Don’t try to reform. You won’t succeed. Any person’s only hope is a new self “created” by God. As Eph. 2:1–10 reminds us, this new creation takes place when we believe in Jesus. Now it is up to us to decide whether we will follow the pull of old, sinful desires or respond to the new self’s pull toward righteousness. God won’t force you to be godly. But if you choose righteousness, He will enable you.

The Bible Reader's Companion

Monday, June 20, 2011

a limp

Desert-CrossAl Mohler states the following in regard to homosexuality:
Christians have no right to excise homosexuality from the Bible, but our ultimate purpose is to move from the diagnosis of sin to the power of the gospel. We are the people who know that Christ has won the victory. The church is the redeemed people of God who understand that God’s redeeming love, made manifest in the cross of Jesus Christ, offers genuine transformation, reconciliation, and the forgiveness of sins.
Building on that, he comments on living in light of a limp:
An analogy might be useful at this point. Consider a man who has sinned by driving under the influence of alcohol. One night, sinfully drunk and recklessly irresponsible, this man gets into his car and drives it right into a wall at high speed. His body is broken, but his life is saved as he is taken to the hospital and receives emergency treatment. He recovers from the accident, but he will forever walk with a limp. Throughout his life, he will drag an injured leg, which can heal to a point, but will never be fully restored.

Let us follow this man as he comes to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He becomes a wonderful trophy of God’s grace, as the grace of God transforms him, reordering his affections right down to the fact that he gains victory over alcoholism. Regeneration has produced a new man, even as sanctification is demonstrated in his growth in grace. Old things have passed away and behold all things have become new (2 Cor. 5:17)—but he still walks with a limp.

The work of the Holy Spirit in his life is evident, even as his limp continues as a part of his experience. He will limp all the way to the grave. He has become what only God could make him as a demonstration of God’s glory in the salvation of a sinner. But until the day of his glorification, this man will limp.

That limp does not become a disqualification for this man’s ability to display the glory of God. As a matter of fact, he may begin to see his limp as a way of explaining to people, “I want to tell you who I was in order to tell you who I now am by the grace of God. You see, this limp is a part of my story. I do not exult in this limp, but this limp is an important part of telling my story about how I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ and how he changed my life.”

In reality, every one of us limps. Throughout our lives until the day of our glorification, every one of us will limp. We must look to the moment of our glorification as the moment of our release from every limp. On that day, every tear will be wiped away, every injury will be fully restored, everything will be made right, and everything will be made whole. Everything and every redeemed person will then perfectly display the glory of God. We are the people with the theology adequate to explain this, and thus, we can offer the only genuine means of personal transformation.
Justin Taylor quotes more here which I'll also repost at another time ...

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church as proof

I've been reading Ephesians lately and couldn't agree more with the following. Mark E. Dever, ‘The Church” in A Theology for the Church, edited by Daniel L. Akin (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2007), 836.

Many Protestants have begun to think that because the church is not essential to the gospel, it is not important to the gospel. This is an unbiblical, false, and dangerous conclusion. Our churches are the proof of the gospel. In the gatherings of the church, the Christian Scriptures are read. In the ordinances of the church, the work of Christ is depicted. In the life of the church, the character of God himself should be evident. A church seriously compromised in character would seem to make the gospel itself irrelevant.

The doctrine of the church is important because it is tied to the good news itself. The church is to be the appearance of the gospel. It is what the gospel looks like when played out in the lives of people. Take away the church and you take away the visible manifestation of the gospel in the world. Christians in churches, then, are called to practice ‘display evangelism,’ and the world will witness the reign of God begun in a community of people made in his image and reborn by his Spirit. Christians, not just as individuals but as God’s people bound together in churches, are the clearest picture that the world sees of the invisible God and what his will is for them.
Timmy Brister then adds:

The gospel is absolutely essential to the church.
The church is incredibly important to the gospel.

Therefore, the recovery of the gospel is essential to the health of the church, and the importance of the local church is crucial to the advance of the gospel. May God gives us a passion for churches to be driven by the gospel, and may God grant churches an unrelenting ambition to make it unmistakably visible in our world for the glory of Jesus’ name.

HT:PC
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

remaining sin

Jc2
Helpful realism from the reformer--
The children of God are freed through regeneration from bondage to sin. Yet they do not obtain full possession of freedom so as to feel no more annoyance from the their flesh, but there still remains in them a continuing occasion for struggle whereby they may be exercised; and not only be exercised, but also better learn their own weakness. . . . [T]here remains in a regenerate man a smoldering cinder of evil, from which desires continually leap forth to allure and spur him to commit sin.
In regeneration, Calvin goes on to say,
the sway of sin is abolished in them. For the Spirit dispenses a power whereby they may gain the upper hand and become victors in the struggle. But sin ceases only to reign; it does not also cease to dwell in them.
--John Calvin, Institutes, 3.3.10-11

Sin dwells, but no longer reigns, in believers.

Duane Ortlund via Peter Cockrell

marks

Man Reading
Interesting list of marks of a true Christian posted by Kevin DeYoung.

Wilhelmus à Brakel in The Christian’s Reasonable Service (1700) lays down six propositions to get us started.
  • Proposition1: A Christian must have a great love for the truth; all splendid pretense void of love for the truth is deceit.
  • Proposition 2: A Christian must have great love and esteem for the church.
  • Proposition 3: The Holy Scriptures are the only rule for doctrine and life.
  • Proposition 4: Regeneration is the originating cause of spiritual life, and of all spiritual thoughts and deeds.
  • Proposition 5: A Christian avails himself of faith.
  • Proposition 6: All of man’s felicity, here and hereafter, consists in communion with and the beholding of God.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

no equity

A post from Ray Ortlund:

393416 Full 570X654“It is not sufficient for any man to run well for a season only. Whatever your attainments may be, and whatever you may have done or suffered in the service of your God, you must forget the things that are behind, till you have actually fulfilled your course and obtained the crown.” ~ Charles Simeon, quoted in Handley C. G. Moule, Charles Simeon (London, 1956), page 166.


Nobody builds equity serving God. It’s all of grace. So yesterday was good, but it’s over. Today is a new day to serve him, whatever the task may be.

pardoned soul

Andrea-Da-Firenze-Way-Of-Salvation"Where must a person go for pardon? Where is forgiveness to be found? There is a way both sure and plain, and into that way I desire to guide every inquirers feet. That way is simply to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. It is to cast your soul with all its sins, unreservedly on Christ—to cease completely from any dependence on your own works or doings, either in whole or in part—and to rest on no other work but Christ’s work—no other righteousness but Christ’s righteousness, no other merit but Christ’s merit as your ground of hope. Take this course—and you are a pardoned soul." ~ J.C. Ryle, Tract: The Way of Salvation


HT:Erik

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

laughed at

"It is a good thing to be laughed at.

It is better than to be ignored."

Harold MacMillan via LON.

comments

I appreciate Shuan's perspective on disabling comments to his blog:
All complaints should be directed towards a section of society to whom the concept of even vaguely civil discussion means nothing. This collective waste of flesh, bone, and dangerously limited brain function have caused me to dread opening each and every "New Comment" notification I've received over the past twelve months or so, to the point where I now cannot continue justifying the moderation of these imbecilic, repugnant grunts when it takes up such an inordinate amount of my willpower and, more importantly, time. I'd rather spend my hours happily expanding the archives of Letters of Note than clean up after a keyboard-wielding gaggle of cowardly, dim-witted, knuckle-dragging reprobates who have nothing better to do than gleefully splash their fetid saliva all over my efforts and then roll around in the puddle until I'm able to press "Delete Comment." I refuse to waste another minute.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

put ons and put offs

5814973980 76Ec9F5428From Justin Taylor, the put-ons and put-offs of the Christian life.

Those in Christ have already put on Christ.
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27).

Those in Christ are commanded to put on Christ.
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Rom. 13:14).

Those in Christ have already put on the new self/man.
“[You] have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Col. 3:10).

Those in Christ are instructed to put on the new self/man.
“[Your were taught] to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).

Those in Christ are to put on the whole armor of God.
“The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12).
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. . . . Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:11, 14).
“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thess. 5:8).

Those in Christ are to put on love and other virtues.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Col. 3:12).
“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:14).

Those in Christ have perishable, mortal bodies that will one day put on imperishable, immortal, heavenly bodies.
“For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:33).
“For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2 Cor. 5:2).

Those in Christ have already put off the old self/man.
“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices” (Col. 3:9).

Those in Christ are instructed to put off the old self/man.
“[You were taught] to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires” (Eph. 4:22).

Those in Christ are to put away all sin and vice.
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Eph. 4:25).
“The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12).
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).
“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” (1 Pet. 2:1).

repentance results in a changed life

bowing down

"True repentance shows itself in a thorough breaking off from sin. The life of a repentant person is altered. The course of their daily conduct is entirely changed. A new King reigns within their heart. They put off the old man. What God commands they now desire to practice; and what God forbids they now desire to avoid. They strive in all ways to keep clear of sin, to fight with sin, to war with sin, to get the victory over sin. They cease to do evil. They learn to do well. They break off sharply from bad ways and bad companions. They labor, however feebly, to live a new life. When a person does this, you have the fourth step in true repentance." ~ J.C. Ryle, Old Paths, “Repentance”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1999], 407.

HT:Erik

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

what we like and don't like

5813563510 1451692F8C TLarry Dixon writes what we like and dislike of what we know from Scripture.

What do we know from Scripture THAT WE LIKE?
1. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance!
2. Jesus did not come primarily to condemn, but to save. He came on a RESCUE mission! Judgment is God’s “strange work.”
3. The Lord’s arm is not short that it cannot save. There is no INABILITY in the Lord that prevents most or ALL being saved!
4. He wants His house FILLED!
5. He does not delight in the death of the wicked!
6. He has declared that people from every tribe, people, tongue and nation will be at the throne worshipping!

What do we know WE MAY NOT LIKE from Scripture?
1. God is thrice-holy and is allergic to sin!
2. He WILL judge!
3. Hell is a real place!
4. Not all will believe!
5. Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers.
6. Death ENDS all opportunities to be saved.
7. We have an OBLIGATION to get the gospel OUT!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

sin is sin

R.C. Sproul in The Holiness of God:
We tend to think that sin is sin and that no sin is greater than any other. We think of Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount that to lust after a woman is to be guilty of adultery. We are aware that the Bible teaches if we sin against one point of the law, we sin against the whole law. These two biblical teachings can easily confuse us about the degrees of sin.

When Jesus said that to lust is to violate the law against adultery, He did not say or imply that lust is as bad as the full act of adultery. His point was that the full measure of the law prohibited more than the actual act of adultery. The law has a broader application. The Pharisees thought that because they never committed the actual act of adultery, they were free of sin against the law. They assumed that if they actually refrained from killing people, they were keeping the law against killing. They failed to see that unjust anger and hatred were also included in the wider meaning of the law against killing.
HT:AH

Saturday, June 04, 2011

growtivation

Coming to your town soon ...


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still rockin'

Alice Cooper ... still rockin' after all these years ...

Welcome to my breakdown.
I hope I didn't scare you.





clobber verses

5797161814 6E92D9A6C5 T"The Bible’s condemnation of same-sex behaviors is comprehensive and clear. It is interwoven with the Bible’s message concerning God’s plan for humanity, marriage, and society — and the Gospel. Human flourishing is found only by living in obedience to God’s revealed plan. Our rebellion against the Creator is never so insidious as when we declare that our own plan is superior to his." ~ Albert Mohler, The Church and the ‘Clobber Scriptures’ — The Bible on Homosexuality

Mohler writes in response to the dismissal of Old Testament and rewriting of New Testament references to the sinfulness of homosexuality.

In regard to speaking of these texts as "clobber" verses, Mohler writes:
Without a knowledge of our sinfulness, we do not know of our need for a Savior. In this sense, we all need to be “clobbered” by the Bible so that we will know of our need for Christ.

God loved sinful humanity so much that he gave us the Bible — and the Law — in order that we might know with revealed specificity the truth about our own sinfulness. Then, we truly celebrate what it means that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16]
Those challenging this continue to miss that truth, change, etc. are not inconsistent with Love. In fact, speaking truth and edifying toward godliness is the loving approach.

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Friday, June 03, 2011

obedience follows rescue

From Chris Brauns' blog ...

Cornelius Plantinga:
Moses emerges with God’s Ten Commandments, a set of requirements that people have to fulfill not in order to get rescued by God from slavery, but because they have been rescued.
Stated succinctly, the imperative of the Christian life (be godly) follows the indicative (we have been freed from sin).

reftagger