Daily Archives: April 21, 2013

The 2013 Heidelberg Conference on Reformed Theology (Europe)

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

The Heidelberg Conference kicks off in Heidelberg (Germany) on July 18-21st 2013 celebrating 450 years of The Heidelberg catechism….

heidelberg conference The Heidelberg Conference on Reformed Theology seeks to bring together Reformed believers from Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and elsewhere. Come, be a part of this event and enjoy the rich fellowship with brothers and sisters from around the globe. Don’t miss it!

The HCRT wants to help you know what you believe and why you believe it! In a time where everything seems to be about personal taste and preference, we are called to confess our faith clearly and without compromise.

This annual conference seeks to foster the robust faith of the Reformed confessions. A faith for which Christians have been persecuted. A faith for which Christians have died.

It is our hope that this Reformed faith would once…

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Study: Belief in an angry God associated with variety of mental illnesses

Study: Belief in an angry God associated with variety of mental illnesses (via Raw Story )

People who believe in an angry, punishing God are much more likely to suffer from a variety of mental illnesses, a scientific study published in the April edition of Journal of Religion & Health finds. The study, conducted by Marymount Manhattan College Assistant Psychology Professor Nava Silton, used…

Salvation Is a Work of God

There is a difficult but marvelous truth to be found within the pages of Scripture: You, dear Christian, cannot save anyone. Nor can any sinner save himself. No matter how pithily or poetically one asks Jesus to “come into his heart,” no matter how many zeroes are written on the check, no matter how piously the Lord’s Table is approached, no matter how many Bible studies one participates in, no matter how many sermons one hears, no matter how many Bibles one owns, no man can bring himself to the point of salvation, nor can any man hold himself responsible for saving another. Salvation is a work of God. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). That is, if a man is not born from above, by a work of God alone, he cannot be saved. R.C. Sproul explains further:

No man has the power to raise himself from spiritual death. Divine assistance is necessary. . . . . . . The question still remains: “Do I cooperate with God’s grace before I am born again, or does the cooperation occur after?” Another way of asking this question is to ask if regeneration is monergistic or synergistic. Is it operative or cooperative? Is it effectual or dependent? Some of these words are theological terms that require further explanation. A monergistic work is a work produced singly, by one person. The prefix mono means one. The word erg refers to a unit of work. Words like energy are built upon this root. A synergistic work is one that involves cooperation between two or more persons or things. The prefix syn means “together with.” I labor this distinction for a reason. The debate between Rome and Luther hung on this single point. At issue was this: Is regeneration a monergistic work of God or a synergistic work that requires cooperation between man and God? . . . After a person is regenerated, that person cooperates by exercising faith and trust. But the first step is the work of God and of God alone. The reason we do not cooperate with regenerating grace before it acts upon us and in us is because we cannot. We cannot because we are spiritually dead. We can no more assist the Holy Spirit in the quickening of our souls to spiritual life than Lazarus could help Jesus raise him for the dead. (Source)

Only the power of God wrought in the heart of a man can regenerate him, granting him repentance of sins and a faith in Jesus Christ that saves.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44)

This ought to be a great comfort to the Christian who obediently evangelizes, sharing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? Because the response of the sinner is not dependent upon the messenger or the methods he employs. Oh, this does not mean that the Christian should be careless in his proclamation of the saving Gospel—may it never be! The message that is delivered indeed does matter, but if the sinner has been made aware of his fallen state and pointed to the crucified and risen Savior, yet still does not collapse in a puddle of brokenness, humility and repentance before God, that does not mean that the messenger has failed.
Yet God, in His gracious kindness, sees fit to use men as a means of sharing that which can bring another to salvation. It is through the proclamation of the Word that faith is awakened. Whether that Word is shared from a pulpit or in the produce aisle of the grocery store, it is through the hearing of God’s own truth that men are saved.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Rom. 10:17)

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24)

Beloved, only God knows the condition of the soil into which we sow the seeds of the Gospel (see Mark 4:1–20). And while we must be faithful to sow those seeds, we do not possess a magical, divine Miracle-Gro® formula that can cause those seeds to germinate and sprout into saving faith. Only God can work such a miracle, and He is faithful to save all those who come to Him.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 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 6:35–40)

Those who are lost, who are drawn by God, will not find themselves reclining, lazily waiting for the Spirit to do His work and to save. No, because the Gospel, though good news, demands a response. What must a man do to be saved? Repent, and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation (Acts 2:37–38; 16:30–34).
It takes great humility and brokenness of pride to come before the throne of God, acknowledging that you have nothing of your own to offer. Yet it is Christ alone who lived and died as the perfect sacrifice for sin. It is only the righteousness of Christ, imputed to saved sinners, that is worthy to stand before God. The Lord is merciful, from His first work to His last, but most of all in His salvation of those who once stood condemned as His enemies (1 John 4:10; 1 Tim. 1:15; Rom. 5:6–11). Bow your knee today before this gracious despot, the sovereign, supreme ruler and Lord of all.

God, be merciful to me, a sinner! (Luke 18:13)

http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2013/04/salvation-is-work-of-god.html

No zeal…No flaming love…No generosity to God’s cause.

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

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I found this quote rather very convicting:

“They wander in on a Sunday morning, sit down, get their hymn book, listen to the prayer without joining in it, hear the sermon, but might almost as well not have heard it, go home, get through the Sunday, go into business. With them there is never any secret prayer for the conversion of men, no trying to talk to children, or servants, or friends, about Christ, no zeal, no holy jealousy, no flaming love, no generosity, no consecrating of the substance to God’s cause! This is too faithful a picture of a vast number of professing Christians. Would it were not so.” C.H. Spurgeon

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The Disciple that Abides in Christ Will Always Bear Fruit

In his Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, J.C. Ryle opens up the Scriptures that record the life and ministry of our Lord. Reflecting upon John 15:1–5, Ryle draws an important distinction between the true and the false Christian. Read more of this post

How to spot a false “apostle”.

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Found this interesting list compiled by Limerick Reformed Fellowship.

1. He claims to be an apostle (II Cor. 11:13; Rev. 2:2).
2. He was not present during the Lord’s earthly ministry or he was not directly commissioned by the risen Christ (Acts 1:21-22; Acts 22:10, 21).
3. He is not part of the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20)
4. He has not seen the risen Christ (I Cor. 9:1; 15:8) or he claims to have seen the risen Christ (perhaps in his bedroom or in some other private location) and is therefore a liar, a deceiver or deluded (I Peter 1:8).
5. He does not have supreme authority in all the churches or he claims such supreme authority and is therefore a liar, deceiver or deluded (I Cor. 7:17; I Cor. 14:37; II Cor. 10:8, 11:28).
6. He cannot demand that his letters be read in the churches as…

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If you lower the Law, you dim the Gospel….

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Many times we see and hear people say come to church and God will give you this or that. It is now so common to have people call themselves ‘Christians’ and yet they have never heard of sin and righteousness. So you ask, ‘Is there anything wrong with that?’ Well you see the knowledge of sin comes after you know what the law of God is – for sin is lawlessness toward God. A man who has come to see the weight of his lawlessness toward God knows his immeasurable debt to Christ. Furthermore …

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The Gospel is only “Good News” to those who have heard, and believe, that there is a diagnosis of “Bad News” about themselves to start with. If we simply present the Gospel as a route to a better life, we are deceiving people about their true condition. More importantly, we are mis-representing God’s holiness and…

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From Where do Believers’ Salvation Garments Come?

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; For the uncircumcised and the unclean Will no longer come into you. 2 Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. 3 For thus says the LORD, “You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money.”  (Isaiah 52:1-3 NASB)

The way many look at our salvation it is as if they believe that it is a work of some kind. The cry to put on strength and beautiful garments is seen as a new believer putting on something they already have. However, in Isaiah 52:1-3 we see that those being saved were in bonds. They were in a captivity into which they were not sold, but they were redeemed without money. From where does…

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